New police cameras aimed at catching drivers using their mobile phones behind the wheel are proving successful.
The technology, which can also detect whether drivers are wearing seatbelts, was initially rolled out on routes across Devon and Cornwall.
During the first couple of weeks, almost 600 people were caught by police not wearing seatbelts on Devon and Cornwall roads.
The cameras caught 590 people not wearing seatbelts and 40 people driving while using a mobile phone.
The Acusensus system is equipped with multiple cameras which record footage of passing motorists.
Images captured by the cameras are processed using artificial intelligence (AI) to determine if motorists were using a handheld mobile phone or if drivers and passengers were without a seat belt. It can also determine the speed a vehicle was travelling at the time.
Any images in which a potential offence is detected are then reviewed. If an offence has been correctly identified, the driver will either be sent a warning letter or a notice of intended prosecution.
Twelve police regions have now trialled the Acusensus technology and three new trailer-based systems have arrived in the UK ahead of the next phase of trials.
Adrian Leisk, head of road safety for Devon and Cornwall Police, said:
When we trialled this technology last year, we were disappointed by the number of drivers detected not wearing seatbelts.
The early results from our latest deployment show that there is also a problem with mobile phone use behind the wheel, which is both dangerous and illegal.
We are employing this new technology to send a clear message to anyone who continues to use their phone behind the wheel – you will get caught.
The technology has also been deployed by Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police.