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National Highways trial of new safety cameras

A National Highways trial of new mobile technology which can automatically detect motorists who are not wearing a seatbelt or using mobile phones while driving began last month and will run until March 2025.  Ten police forces* will be using the new kit which is mounted to a vehicle or trailer and has multiple cameras giving differing views of the driver and their passengers.

The research will work alongside police forces to help learn more about how the technology could work on National Highways roads and inform a possible future roll-out nationwide.  There are also plans for the technology to be fixed to gantries for the first time giving an unobscured view of all lanes.

The new type of technology captures footage of passing motorists. The images are processed using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse whether the motorists could be using a handheld mobile phone or drivers may be without a seat belt. 

The images are then passed to police for consideration on any action to be taken. Drivers can be fined up to £500 for not wearing a seatbelt in addition to penalty points. While using a mobile phone while driving can result in a fine of up to £1,000 and six penalty points.

*The police forces taking part in the trial are: Durham, Greater Manchester Police, Humberside, Staffordshire, West Mercia, Northamptonshire, Wiltshire, Norfolk; Thames Valley Police and Sussex.

Employers are advised by the HSE that “health and safety law includes on-the-road work activities and the risks should be effectively managed as part of a safe system of work. This being the case, it’s clear that employers have the same duty of care to those ‘out and about’ as they do to those in the office.  In addition to it being illegal to use a hand-held phone, it’s also an offence to “cause or permit” a driver to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. Therefore, employers can technically be held liable if they require employees to use hand-held phones while driving.

RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) recommend a number of preventative steps which employers can take  in their leaflet “Driving for work: Mobile Phones” including how employers can educate their employees, underline their commitment to safe driving and clarify their expectation that drivers will drive safely.

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