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A new roadside survey has indicated that over half a million drivers may not be wearing a seatbelt on the daily, along with over 50,000 drivers using a hand-held phone as they drive. 

The roadside technology provider Acusensus collected the survey data through their ‘Heads Up’ system, using specialised roadside cameras to capture clear images through windscreens. Different sites were surveyed for a period of six hours on a weekday, with the results then being manually analysed. 

The project, led by AECOM, found that three in every 1,000 drivers use a mobile phone, with the proportion of those breaking the law being three times higher in van drivers compared to car drivers. As well as this, out of the vehicle passengers observed within the data collected, 4.8% were not wearing a seatbelt. 

Geoff Collins, the Acusensus UK General Manager, said: “Distracted driving and not using a seatbelt are two of the ‘fatal five’ risk factors, most likely to lead to serious harm when driving. 

“The Heads Up technology not only helps to provide this background understanding but can also be used to provide violation records that are used for prosecution or education purposes, which has now been successfully carried out by many UK police forces.”

When extrapolated to reflect the number of journeys that take place in the UK, Collins described the data as “alarming”. He also said “it is possibly misleading to think that more seatbelt violations occur” due to the fact that those who break this law are likely to do so throughout their entire journey. Hand-held mobile usage is not usually continuous and therefore is more easily missed by the survey.

Acusensus has also stated that its equipment can use artificial intelligence image analysis to detect any likely violations of the law on UK roads. 

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