More police forces join trial of new AI road safety cameras

More police forces join trial of new AI road safety cameras
A National Highways trial of new mobile technology, that uses artificial intelligence (AI) is set to be expanded across the UK.

The cameras, which can automatically detect motorists who are not wearing a seatbelt or using mobile phones while driving, is to be extended with ten extra police forces.

They 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.

First launched in 2021, the trial uses modern technology to spot motorists who are driving without seatbelts or on the phone.

The data is then processed and sent to the police, where they then inform the driver of their actions through warning letters outlining the dangers of their behaviour.

According to police research, drivers are four times more likely to be in a crash if they are using a mobile phone while driving.

They are also twice as likely to die in a crash if they are not wearing a seatbelt.

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.

The trial, in partnership with AECOM, began on 19 February and will run until March 2025.

Although it currently isn’t scheduled, there are plans for the technology to be fixed to gantries for the first time giving an unobscured view of all lanes.

The images caught on the AI cameras are passed to police for consideration on any action to be taken.

Drivers who break the law, can be fined up to £500 for not wearing a seatbelt in addition to penalty points.

For anyone caught using mobile phone behind the wheel could face a fine of up to £1,000 and six penalty points on a licence.

National Highways Head of National Road User Safety Delivery, Matt Staton, said: “We know that distracted driving and not wearing seatbelts were key factors in a high number of incidents that resulted in people being killed or seriously injured.

“Working with our police partners we want to reduce such dangerous driving and reduce the risks posed to both the drivers and other people. We believe that using technology like this will make people seriously consider their driving behaviour.

“We will continue to invest in technology that could help make sure everyone using our roads gets home safe and well.”

What do you make of the use of AI cameras by the police and National Highways? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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