Big Brother Van Hits UK Roads

Wed 3rd Aug 2022

Police in the UK have deployed a new weapon in the fight against motorists using their phone whilst driving, after a van fitted with AI technology was put to the test on unsuspecting drivers.

Nicknamed ‘Big Brother’, Warwickshire Police are the first in the country to trial the van, which uses sensors to check a driver’s behaviour and using artificial intelligence can recognise if the motorist is using a phone, driving without a seatbelt or committing any other dangerous driving offences.

Provided by National Highways, the van will sit at roadside locations and use the large metal structure which attaches to the roof to monitor vehicles and their passengers with a birdseye view. It is expected that the Government will be paying close attention to the trial to gain an understanding as to the scale of the problem of offences being committed, with suggestions that further vans could be made available across the country. And drivers are being warned that the AI technology will be sophisticated enough to even spot when a youngster is travelling in a front passenger seat, and maybe even deployed to catch tailgating incidents at a later date.

Warwickshire Police will send out warning letters to those caught by the ‘Big Brother’ van, however repeat offenders will receive fines of up to £500.

Speaking about the launch of the trial, Jeremy Phillips, head of road safety at National Highways said: “Safety remains our top priority and we want everyone to get to their destination safely. 

“Sadly, there are still drivers who do not feel the need to wear a seatbelt, become distracted by their phones or travel too close to the vehicle in front.

“We want to see if we can change driver behaviour and therefore improve road safety for everyone. 

“Our advice is clear; please leave enough space, buckle up and give the road your full attention.”