AI Cameras Nab 300 Errant British Drivers in 3 Days

AI Cameras Nab 300 Errant British Drivers in 3 Days

A new AI-powered camera system captured nearly 300 drivers breaking the law just three days after the technology was first used in the British counties of Devon and Cornwall, the BBC reported on Wednesday, August 16.

Police said the most common violations related to using a mobile phone while driving and not wearing a seatbelt. The AI system, which was placed on Cornwall’s busiest major road A30, detected 180 seatbelt offences and 117 mobile phone offences in the first 72 hours.

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Human – AI double team

The free-standing AI camera system from road safety tech firm Acusensus was deployed by Vision Zero South West, a collaborative effort involving several agencies such as the police, health services, fire department, and other groups from Devon and Cornwall.

Acusensus has been installed in a vehicle with many high shutter speed cameras, analyzing and processing images of passing drivers to look for violations of traffic laws. The cameras use “an infrared flash and a lensing and filtering system” to record the images.

AI Cameras Nab 300 Errant British Drivers in 3 Days
Acusensus. Image Credits: BBC

Police said while the system uses AI, all images are manually assessed by a person within the force. Any possible offences identified by the program – such as using a cell phone while driving, not wearing a seatbelt, or speeding – are sent to a human for a final check.

Should the human reviewer determine that a violation has occurred, police will issue the driver with a warning letter or a notice of intention to prosecute, depending on the severity of the offence and the circumstances, the BBC report says.

“When we trialled this tech last year, we were disappointed by the number of drivers detected not wearing seatbelts, particularly as we continue to see serious and fatal collisions involving people who were not wearing seatbelts,” said Adrian Leisk, head of road safety for Devon and Cornwall Police.

“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,” he stated. Leisk had a final warning for motorists in the UK.

“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.”

He urged drivers to “put your phone away in the glove box or somewhere you cannot reach it” while on the road. “If it’s an emergency,” Leisk said, “make sure you pull in and stop the car before making that call.”

AI cameras raise privacy concerns

Vision Zero South West first trialled the AI road safety cameras in September 2022 and is now rolling out on the A30 highway near Launceston, Cornwall. The scheme comes amid a surge in road-related fatalities across the UK and in Devon and Cornwall.

Last year, there were a reported 48 road deaths and 738 serious injuries on roads in the two counties. However, not everyone is excited about AI taking pictures of them while driving.

According to research by UK car insurance provider, some 21% of the drivers it surveyed believe the AI speed cameras are an invasion of their privacy. Another 48% said the the technology will help make roads safer.

“While drivers might be concerned about their privacy, we must remember that any form of distractions in the car could lead to dangerous driving,” said’s Louise Thomas, as reported by local news outlet The Packet.

“So new speed cameras like these are not there to catch us out, but to improve road safety.”

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.