AI warning issued to millions of drivers
4 mins read

AI warning issued to millions of drivers

New AI speed cameras are being rolled out across the UK that can spot drivers using mobile phones or not wearing seatbelts

The introduction of these advanced cameras aims to reduce the number of road accidents by combating driver distraction, a significant cause of road accidents.

Context

The introduction of AI speed cameras follows extensive trials and approval from the UK Department for Transport. The cameras, developed by a range of technology companies, have been trialled in regions including Devon and Cornwall, catching hundreds of offenders in a short space of time, according to Daily mailThe initiative is part of a broader effort to improve road safety by using cutting-edge technology to more effectively monitor driver behaviour.

AI warning issued to millions of drivers
A sign warning no cars or motorcycles is seen at a limited traffic area (LTN) barrier on August 1, 2023 in London, England.

Carl Court/Getty Images Entertainment/GC Images

Newsweek contacted the Department of Transport for comment.

What do we know

The AI ​​cameras are equipped with advanced software that can capture high-resolution images of vehicles and analyze them to identify violations such as cell phone use, not wearing a seat belt and speeding. The images are taken from multiple angles to ensure accuracy, and are then sent to the police for further action.

According to Daily mailThe cameras were initially trialled in Devon, where they caught 117 drivers using mobile phones and 130 drivers not wearing seatbelts over three days.

According to GB News, the technology is currently being trialled by 11 police forces across the UK, including Durham, Greater Manchester and Sussex.

Offenders can face significant penalties, including fines and penalty points. For example, drivers caught using a mobile phone while driving can be fined up to £1,000 (~$1,287).

Views

Rod Dennis, spokesman for British motor services company RAC, said: Newsweek “Despite penalties for using a mobile phone doubling to six penalty points and a £200 fine seven years ago, it is clear that too many drivers are still prepared to put their lives at risk by engaging in this dangerous practice.”

“We suspect the main cause is a lack of enforcement, which means many drivers have no fear of getting caught,” he said.

Dennis believes technology could be a “game changer” in the fight against distracted driving. “Police can’t be everywhere all the time, so it makes sense that police forces are looking for the best technology available to help them catch drivers who are acting in breach of the law,” he said.

RAC research suggests drivers support tougher enforcement of the law on mobile phone use while driving, with Dennis saying 47 per cent said AI camera technology was the “best way” to tackle the issue.

What’s next

The AI ​​speed camera project is set to run until March 2025 and is set to be rolled out across the UK. As the technology proves its worth in catching traffic offences, it is likely to become a permanent fixture on UK roads.

Speaking to GB News, Jack Cousens, head of roads policy at the Automobile Association, commented that these cameras, which can do “everything and nothing”, are a significant step forward for road safety. “From a road safety perspective, it means you are less likely to get away with careless driving,” he said.

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