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What are mobile phone and seatbelt detection cameras?

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  • What are the new mobile phone enforcement cameras?
  • What happens if I get caught by one of the new cameras?
  • 30% of people killed while driving in Britain in 2021 were not wearing seat belts.

Ever seen someone not wearing a seatbelt or using their phone when driving? Well, take a mental picture because new camera technology could soon make it a sight rarer than a generous traffic warden! So, if you know anyone that ought to know better, strap in and send them this article to warn them to stay safe before they face the penalty.

What are the new cameras for mobile phone and seatbelt offences?

The Acusensus is a new enforcement camera system mounted to vans or placed on the roadside. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) is able to identify poor driver behaviours and road conditions, which can detect whether drivers are holding a mobile phone and if they have their seatbelts fastened.

The technology was first introduced in New South Wales, Australia. In a six-month period, 8.5 million vehicles were assessed, with over 100,000 drivers caught illegally using their phone! This is now being trialled in the UK, starting in Devon and Cornwall (during October-November, 2022). Hundreds of drivers and passengers have already been caught not wearing a seatbelt and have been warned or fined accordingly. It’s expected this will lead to a nationwide roll-out after this trial finishes.

 

What happens if I get caught by the new Acusensus mobile phone/seatbelt camera?

Drivers caught on camera will face serious consequences – in the same way they would if they were stopped by the police for using a phone or not wearing a seatbelt.

  • If you’re caught using your mobile phone, you’ll face a £200 fine as well as six penalty points on your licence.
  • If you’re caught not wearing your seatbelt, you’ll face a fine of between £100 to £500.
    If you’ve passed your test in the last two years and are caught, you’ll lose your licence.

While we’re on the subject, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the laws around driving and using a phone…

  • You’re only allowed to use your phone to call 999 in an emergency if it’s safe to do so, or once you’re safely parked. You’re also allowed to use a Bluetooth headset.
  • You’re not allowed to use your phone when queueing in traffic. Holding your device in any way (even if you’re supervising a learner driver) is illegal.
  • There used to be a loophole in the law which meant you could hold your phone to type directions into Google Maps, for example, or any other use that wasn’t contacting somebody. This is no longer the caseit’s now illegal and you’ll be fined accordingly.

So remember, when driving or riding a motorcycle, if you hold and use a phone, sat nav, tablet, or any device that can send and receive data (whether it’s on aeroplane mode or not!), you can be prosecuted.


It is against the law to use your phone whilst driving.

How can I protect myself?

To protect yourself, first and foremost, make sure you’re wearing a seatbelt and not using your phone. 30% of people killed while driving in Britain in 2021 were not wearing seat belts, as documented by the Department for Transport (DfT). That’s an increase of 23% in just 12 months!

Secondly, when you’re in a car with someone else driving, make sure their focus is completely on the road. If they need directions, help them out yourself. If you notice any other passengers aren’t wearing their seatbelt correctly, tell them.

In 2020, a national road safety survey was commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. This survey was completed by 66,000 people. 55% witnessed road traffic offences on a daily basis, including using a mobile phone or not wearing a seatbelt. On top of this, 81% of respondents agreed that road traffic offences require more enforcement.

One final note, remember the true cost of prosecution will always be more than the initial fine – it will also push up the cost of your insurance premium, so it’s just really not worth it. That text message can wait, and those five extra seconds putting your seatbelt on before driving away are so worth it.

Make sure you share this with friends and family who you think might need warning, especially if they’re supervising a learner driver. If you’d like to share it publicly, remember to tag us @flowinsuranceuk on Facebook or Instagram and don’t forget the hashtag #GoWithTheFlow

In the meantime, here’s everything you need to know about speed cameras, speeding fines and awareness courses

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