Search

Norfolk and Suffolk police launch crackdown on mobile phone drivers using signal detector

13:29 24 January 2015

The new sign that detects motorists using their mobile phone. Photo : Steve Adams

The new sign that detects motorists using their mobile phone. Photo : Steve Adams

Archant

Norfolk and Suffolk Police are starting a joint week-long crackdown on motorists who use phones while at the wheel.

The centrepiece is a flashing mobile-phone sign on Martineau Lane, outside County Hall in Norwich.

The “mobile phone detection system”, designed by Dereham-based safety sign specialists, Westcotec, is a portable system and exclusive to Norfolk.

A signal-detector can tell if a mobile phone is being used for a phone call or to send a text while in the car and will flash up as the offending driver goes past.

It is designed as a deterrent rather than to catch offending drivers and will be moved about several locations in Norfolk in the months to come.

Iain Temperton, road safety manager at Norfolk County Council, added; “We have been trialing the MPDS at a number of locations in Norfolk and it’s proved to be a flexible and extremely useful piece of equipment that we’re now ready to roll out across the county.

“The system can’t detect whether it’s a passenger using a phone in a vehicle or whether a hands-free device is being used. But of course, those people don’t need to be worried if they get a flash from the sign.”

Norfolk Constabulary is warning that if drivers are caught using a mobile phone while behind the wheel they will be given a £60 fixed penalty notice and have their licence endorsed with three penalty points.

It is part of road safety group Think! Norfolk’s “fatal four” activities, which are: not wearing a seat belt, drink-driving, speeding and using a handheld device at the wheel.

The message of the campaign is: “Why wouldn’t you... drive sober? Belt up? Ignore it? Slow down?”

Chief Insp Chris Spinks, head of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Unit, said: “It is a difficult message to get across when people are so reliant on their phones.

“You can’t second guess the actions of other road users and therefore need to be alert and concentrating 100% to be in a position to deal with the unexpected.”

He added: “I welcome any innovations in technology which can be used alongside traditional methods to improve safety on our roads.”

Sally Plail, driver and rider development manager at Norfolk County Council, said: “When you have a conversation with someone you are using the same part of the brain which is used to spot hazards.”

The week-long enforcement exercise will take place across Norfolk and Suffolk starting tomorrow and involve marked and unmarked police vehicles as well as unmarked police HGVs to catch lorry drivers flouting the law.

Police in Norfolk have seen drivers of HGVs watching DVDs before when they use the HGV dummy to catch lorry drivers.

“No message is so important that you cannot wait a few minutes to park safely and check it,” Ms Plail said and added: “Mobile phones have their uses but not in vehicles.”

A total of 1,530 drivers have completed courses after being caught driving while using a mobile phone in the last 12 months.

In the five years to October 2014, 13,094 drivers in Norfolk have been issued with fixed penalty notices by police after being caught using a mobile phone while driving.

30 comments

  • “The system can’t detect whether it’s a passenger using a phone in a vehicle or whether a hands-free device is being used. But of course, those people don’t need to be worried if they get a flash from the sign.” The copper are not going to worry about this. They will just carry on with their hounding and persecution of motorists as usual. Its going to be a laugh when a bus full of passengers, who are using their phones goes past it. Lets see what the keystone kops do about that ?.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Monday, January 26, 2015

  • The fine for being caught using a mobile phone whilst in control of a motor vehicle is £100 and 3 points, not £60 as stated in your article

    Report this comment

    muttley

    Monday, January 26, 2015

  • I recently watched a female police officer driving a police vehicle whilst using a mobile phone... says it all.

    Report this comment

    GrumpyOldMan

    Monday, January 26, 2015

  • Quote :Norfolk Constabulary is warning that if drivers are caught using a mobile phone while behind the wheel they will be given a £60 fixed penalty notice and have their licence endorsed with three penalty points. It is actually £100 & 3 penalty points

    Report this comment

    muttley

    Monday, January 26, 2015

  • Any chance they could do something about the recent large increase in House Burglary.........oh thats hit the to diffilcult buffers!

    Report this comment

    dave123

    Sunday, January 25, 2015

  • “The system can’t detect whether it’s a passenger using a phone in a vehicle or whether a hands-free device is being used. But of course, those people don’t need to be worried if they get a flash from the sign.” Norfolk Constabulary is warning that if drivers are caught using a mobile phone while behind the wheel they will be given a £60 fixed penalty notice and have their licence endorsed with three penalty points. So if it can't determine who was using the phone, how is it fair to issue a ticket? What if the signal I'd confused for a text message being received or an app pushing data to the phone? If this can be answered, especially as to how it would be determined who was using the phone then fair enough, otherwise I can see this causing major problems.

    Report this comment

    Jo Polley

    Sunday, January 25, 2015

  • It's good to Crack down on mobile phone uses ! I recently got a fine doing 35mph in a 30 zone on a country road it's was not a built up srea, but when I'm leaving for work in the morning s heading along the duel carriage way in great yarmouth in a 50 mp495 zone in a Hugh built up area with lives at risk! I see people driving 60 70 80 mph me being a professional driver I only see the police checking speed limits at off peak times WHY

    Report this comment

    Stuart Marshall

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • Spoke to a Norfolk police constable and he tells me that they have been told by superiors to not routinely stop people for using their mobile phone. Only to use it as a second offence if they are doing something else, like speeding etc.

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • How about a campaign to highlight the dangers of driving whilst drinking a cup of Costa Coffee and at the same time peering through an iced up windscreen.

    Report this comment

    nicholas dasey

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • We are being asked to contribute more to the policing of Norfolk but increasingly all we are getting for our money are electronic devices of one sort or another. Speed cameras, cctv, flashing speed signs etc etc. What we want is the return to real police officers patrolling our roads. You can travel from one side of the county to the other and not see a police officer. I am getting rather annoyed that we are being asked to come up with even more money towards the police budget to pay for an increase in cyber crime. If some idiot wants to engage in making rude remarks on social media then the recipient should ignore such rubbish and not go running to the police to complain. The police in turn seem to put such nonsense at the top of their list of priorities instead of getting on and dealing with the bread and butter issues.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • The fine and points are way to low ......someone Being caught using a mobile phone should get a minimum £5000.00 fine and a minimum 6 month ban then see who uses the phone whilst driving

    Report this comment

    Phil Attenborrow

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • Would love the EDP to investigate these signs. Having seen one in use at North Walsham for several months I think the work about as well as the famous Iraqi "bomb detectors". If Norfolk taxpayers are (in any way) contributing money towards these things then there should be a proper investigation into whether they work at all.

    Report this comment

    Alex S

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • "A signal-detector can tell if a mobile phone is being used for a phone call or to send a text while in the car and will flash up as the offending driver goes past." How?? My bet is that this a deliberate attempt to mislead the public. To detect a mobile system in use is simple, as it simply requires a receiver that activates when a signal on a mobile phone frequency & of a certain strength is detected. But to place the signal is much less easy & would require some form of direction finding equipment to be included in the sign & that is much more expensive & sophisticated & would require several antennas, which the sign clearly does not have. Plus using a mobile phone in a vehicle is not an offence. only using a device capable of being used as a mobile phone (such as an Police Airwave radio for example) & when driving & without a hands free kit.

    Report this comment

    el84

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • Derk, dirty number plates are not dangerous

    Report this comment

    Steven

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • Beverley, don't forget those who driver around with dirty number plates and rear windscreens

    Report this comment

    Derek McDonald

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • Mobile phones, seat belts, drinking and driving, red diesel you name it but no notice or action is taken over vehicles with defective headlights! Seeing one light approaching - is it a motorcycle at the side of the carriageway or one in the centre? Sometimes you can see the glimmer of a parking light sometimes not even that. This problem is potentially so dangerous but no notice appears to be taken or is it too difficult as the police would have to get out of their car..

    Report this comment

    beverley

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • A gimmick to give the impression that something is done, as accidents are increasingly from this cause of negligence to the general public. I'm not sure whether hands free sets should be treated different, they still distract from the focus on driving, future accident figures will show.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • Do more good standing a dummy plod there, someone from NCC got an interest in MPDS one must suspect, otherwise why would anyone use this daft thing??

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • Until our legislators treat mobile-driving as seriously as drink-driving, motorists will continue to put others at risk of injury or death. The police can only apply the law as it is and a slap on the wrist isn't much of a deterrent. So, MPs, are you listening? Sadly, I doubt it.

    Report this comment

    marty r

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • Pointless waste of time, not improving safety at all, why don't Norfolk Constabulary have somewhere people who have dash cams can send recordings of people on their phones whilst driving?? I guess that would mean doing some work.

    Report this comment

    Rob_H

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • I hope that they haven't paid for this pointless piece of junk.

    Report this comment

    Norfolk John

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • Yet more bone idle policing, yet the chief copper has the nerve to say he wants even more council tax for the force ?. Yeh. For their pensions and more for your expenses and over bloated salary.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • We've got one of these on Norwich Road in Swaffham. Still haven't worked out when it will flash or not!

    Report this comment

    ToxicGasWarningSystem

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • Well it was designed in Norfolk - what do you expect?

    Report this comment

    Grum

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • What an absolutely pointless exercise! Not a crackdown and not a single prosecution. Why is this happening?

    Report this comment

    davidbrian56

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • Just what is the point of this ????? It might not be the driver actually using the phone in the car.

    Report this comment

    Twig Stevens

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • On numerous occasions I've been past this sign and it's flashed, yet nobody in the vehicle was using their phone. If it's going to flash simply because your phone is trying to get a signal, it's making false accusations that the driver is braking the law. If it's not flashing because of that, it's not very reliable.

    Report this comment

    Scarlet Pimpernel

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • Does this mean they have not been bothering lately

    Report this comment

    Derek McDonald

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • @ykims - Quite so. If there is no direct identification, stop of, or penalty for offenders, it's unlikely to deter anybody; especially now that its purely "informational" nature has been flagged up in the media.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • So there's no actual crackdown at all, is there?

    Report this comment

    ykims

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Other news

Yesterday, 18:00
Kemps Morris dancers along with German folk dancers from Winningen perform in Southwold.

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

The jingling of bells could be heard on the green of a popular coastal town as members of a traditional folk dance troupe celebrated its 60th birthday with a special celebration.

Yesterday, 18:00
Youngsters from poplars primary school have been awarded medals for taking part in a sports activity programme. Phil Aves from lowestoft Rising presents the medals.

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

With the Rio Olympic Games only a few weeks away young sporting stars of the future have been getting into the sporting spirit.

Yesterday, 17:00
Pet chickens Edna, Gertrude and Betty were stolen from a home in Carlton Colville.

A family has spoken of its heartbreak as three beloved pet chickens were stolen from their home.

Yesterday, 14:09
The Sole Bay Health Centre, in Reydon.

Patients of a health centre in east Suffolk have been asked to share their views on the potential closure of two GP clinics in the area.

Most Read

Monday, October 27, 2014
Hoseasons call centre, Lowestoft.
Matt Smith oust side the building with the new company logo.

A Lowestoft firm, who are one of the UK’s leading self-catering accommodation specialists, is searching for new recruits.

Read more
Friday, July 22, 2016
Travellers on Normanston Park, Lowestoft.

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

A meeting is to be held by Waveney District Council on Monday after Travellers moved on to a Lowestoft park.

Read more
Suffolk police
Yesterday, 17:00
Pet chickens Edna, Gertrude and Betty were stolen from a home in Carlton Colville.

A family has spoken of its heartbreak as three beloved pet chickens were stolen from their home.

Read more
Carlton Colville
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Carl Morgan has been reported missing from the Snape Drive area in Lowestoft.

A man who was reported missing from the Lowestoft area has been found.

Read more
Suffolk Police
Friday, July 15, 2016
Mark Lee has had his prison sentence extended – by four years and six months - after a successful challenge by Suffolk Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

A man has had his prison sentence extended – by four years and six months - after a successful challenge by Suffolk police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Read more
Suffolk Police

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 16°C

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Lowestoft Journal
e-edition today

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up