UK police are testing a roadside van that can detect whether a driver is holding a phone while they’re at the wheel. The three-month trial is being conducted in Warwickshire with the help of government-owned National Highways, which oversees motorways and major A roads in England. The test will help determine how the tech may be used in the future, according to The Guardian.
The van, which can also check whether drivers or passengers are wearing seatbelts, is kitted out with several cameras that capture footage of passing vehicles. An AI system analyzes the images for possible phone and seatbelt violations. Police say the “most serious breaches” spotted during the trial may be prosecuted, while other drivers will receive warning letters.
Distracted driving is a serious issue. In Britain in 2019, there were 420 collisions in which it was determined that a driver was using a phone. Meanwhile, data shows that 23 percent of car occupants who died in crashes in the country in 2020 were not wearing their seatbelt.
The trial is part of National Highways’ plan to prevent any deaths or serious injuries on its network by 2040. Future tests may see the van being equipped with tech that can detect vehicles driving too close to each other.