Police are cracking down on drivers using mobile phones and driving without wearing a seatbelt with a new van which has a camera mounted about 21ft above the road.
The mobile phone and seat belt unit uses artificial intelligence to identify motorists potentially breaking the law.
Images are then sent to an officer for a secondary check and those breaking the law will be prosecuted.
The enforcement vehicle has previously been deployed in Warwickshire, Merseyside, East and West Sussex.
Safer Roads Humber is now working with National Highways in trialling the van, which has been deployed across the Humber region this week.
Safer Roads Humber is working with National Highways in trialling the new enforcement vehicle
A National Highways spokesman told MailOnline there is currently no commitment to deploy this further than East Yorkshire, adding: ‘We are reviewing the data we have collected on mobile phone and seatbelt compliance and will be working in partnership with the police and others in the development of the next phase of work to improve compliance and make the network safer.’
Ian Robertson, Safer Roads Humber partnership manager, said: ‘It is important that motorists always obey all traffic law, this is for their safety and the safety of other road users.
‘The number of people killed or injured in road collisions across the region has plateaued over the last few years and this is in part due to driver complacency.
‘We can’t pick and choose which road traffic laws we obey; all laws should be adhered to, at all times.’
He continued: ‘This new van increases our enforcement capability; our current safety camera vans can already detect mobile phone users and seat belt offences, but this specialist equipment gives us added capacity.’
Jamie Hassall, National Highways’ road safety team leader, added: ‘This technology has already been deployed on roads elsewhere in the country where it has helped to shine a light on the minority of dangerous drivers who continue to put themselves and others at risk.
‘We want to see if we can change driver behaviour and therefore improve road safety for everyone.
‘So, as we embark on this latest trial of the system, our advice is clear: buckle up and give the road your full attention.’
Safer Roads Humber is also raising awareness of the ‘Fatal Four’ which are the main causes of crashes on the road.
The mobile phone and seat belt unit uses artificial intelligence to identify motorists potentially breaking the law
The cameras from above capture people who appear to be using phones – then checks are made (stock image)
Unsafe driver detected every six minutes during UK-first trial
The new van was trialled in partnership with Warwickshire Police to understand levels of unsafe behaviour on the Strategic Road Network last autumn.
In the UK-first trial of the new safety technology, motorists were found holding mobile phones or driving without seatbelts every six minutes.
The ‘sensor test vehicle’ was trialled in a number of weeks ahead of October 17 on England’s motorways and major A-roads.
At the time, a total of 122,241 vehicles were checked on the M40 and A46 over a period of 64 hours.
This led to 152 mobile phone detections and 512 vehicle occupants without a seat belt.
Of the 664 offences detected, it is estimated that 530 (79.81%) were committed by people between the ages of 30 and 49, while 627 (94.42%) of those caught out were male.
This includes speeding, using a handheld mobile phone whilst driving resulting in distraction, driving whilst impaired through alcohol and drugs and not wearing a seat belt which determines the severity of injury in a crash.
Mr Robertson said: ‘The majority of motorists drive safely and appropriately most of the time, but a very small minority deliberately drive in a dangerous manner.
‘Using a handheld phone whilst driving whether texting, checking your status or ringing friends is a very deliberate act.
‘Not wearing your seat belt is a very deliberate act and if you’re involved in a collision, you are more likely to be killed or seriously injured. Anyone driving in this manner risks prosecution.’
The van has been developed by Aecom and Acusensus. It has been deployed by National Highways – working alongside different police forces – as part of a road safety trial programme since last summer.
Anyone detected using a handheld mobile phone whilst driving risks being fined £200 and receiving six points on their driving licence.
Anyone not wearing a seat belt within a vehicle will risk a £100 fine, with the driver being responsible for any passengers under the age of 14.
Where possible those detected may be offered an education course as an alternative to prosecution.
Police have previously spied on motorists from unmarked HGVs and caught hundreds of drivers breaking the law.
MailOnline reported in 2020 that officers used a ‘stealthy’ lorry’s cab height to look inside vehicles and see if drivers were wearing seat belts or using mobile phones.
They found some motorists completely disregarding safety rules, with one driver caught using his elbows to steer and another using his dashboard as his filing system.
Another man was watching music videos while behind the wheel and a woman was seen doing her makeup in the fourth lane of the M25, police said at the time.
Officers previously used the ‘stealthy’ lorry’s cab (pictured) to look inside vehicles and see if drivers were wearing seatbelts or using mobile phones
Police spying on motorists from an unmarked HGV in 2020 caught hundreds of drivers breaking the law in a shocking variety of ways. Pictured: DIY equipment unsafely packed into a van that was driving along the M25
During nine days over a month-and-a-half in 2020, Sussex and Surrey Police spotted more than 300 different drivers committing offences. Pictured: One van driver was found using his dashboard ‘as a filing system’
Sussex and Surrey Police spotted more than 300 different drivers committing offences in nine days over a six week period.
One officer sat behind the wheel of the HGV, while another watched out for dangerous or distracted driving and recorded footage of concerning incidents.
The ‘observer’ officer then relayed the information to another police vehicle travelling behind, which intercepted and told the suspect driver to pull over.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk