AI road enforcement trial extended

A nationwide trial using artificial intelligence to detect drivers not wearing their seatbelts or using their phones is set to be extended.

National Highways and 10 police forces will continue testing the mobile technology that uses AI to process images of motorists either not wearing seatbelt or using their phones while behind the wheel.

The 10 police forces are Durham, Greater Manchester Police, Humberside, Staffordshire, West Mercia, Northamptonshire, Wiltshire, Norfolk, Thames Valley Police, and Sussex, with the trial extended until next March.

This comes after Department for Transport (DfT) data revealed that 400,000 drivers a year still use a mobile phone while driving, with drivers four times more likely to be involved in a crash while on their phones.


RAC road safety spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Despite the penalties for using a handheld phone having doubled to six penalty points and a £200 fine seven years ago, it’s clear far too many drivers are still prepared to put lives at risk by engaging in this dangerous practice. We suspect a major reason for this is a lack of enforcement, meaning many drivers have no fear of being caught.

“AI-equipped cameras that can automatically detect drivers breaking the law offer a chance for the tide to be turned. The police can’t be everywhere all of the time, so it makes sense that forces look to the best available technology that can help them catch drivers acting illegally.”