Police Use Sensors to Warn Drivers against Using Mobile Phones

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. peril / ˈperəl / (n) – something dangerous or causing harm

    All drivers must be aware of the perils of driving while drunk.

  2. deter / dɪˈtɜr / (v) – to prevent someone from doing something

    A speed bump deters drivers from overspeeding.

  3. critically / ˈkrɪtɪkəli / (adv) – seriously

    He was critically injured in the car accident.

  4. negligent / ˈnɛglɪ ʤənt / (adj) – careless

    The police caught the negligent driver.

  5. distinguish / dɪˈstɪŋ gwɪʃ / (v) – to recognize something as different from another thing

    It’s hard to distinguish their cars because they have the same color.


Read the text below.

The UK police are using a new detection system to alert motorists who use mobile phones while driving.

Police departments in Thames Valley and Hampshire recently developed a new sensor with help from technology company Westcotec. In developing the sensor, the police wanted to make people more aware of the perils of simultaneously using a phone and driving. They also intended to use the sensor to pinpoint areas where there are many instances of mobile phone use among drivers.

This sensor is a road-side sign showing a mobile phone in a red circle with a diagonal line across it. It detects phone signals from passing cars. Then, it flashes an LED warning sign to deter drivers from using their phones while driving.

Two sensors have been installed and are currently being used on the A34 road in Oxfordshire. More sensors will be set up at different locations throughout the Thames Valley and Hampshire, where over a hundred people have died or have been critically injured since 2014 due to negligent drivers using their phones.

The Royal Automobile Club showed support for the new detection system. According to a representative, the technology would help drivers be more focused while driving and discourage some from using their phones.

In spite of the sensor’s potential to help drivers, the device has some disadvantages. For one, the sensor cannot distinguish whether the driver or the front-seat passenger is using the mobile phone. Also, at £6,000 per unit, it is expensive.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think the sensor will be effective in discouraging drivers from using their phones while driving? Why or why not?
• Aside from using this sensor, how else can drivers be discouraged from using phones while driving?

Discussion B

• If you could invent a device that would improve road safety, what would it be? Describe.
• What challenges do you foresee in creating this device?