Police have revealed what high-tech cameras on one of the region's busiest roads can catch drivers doing.

The system - with number plate recognition technology - was installed along the A23 at Handcross at the weekend.

It is attached to a small trailer in the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) Handcross checkpoint.

Motorists can be caught and fined for not wearing seatbelts or using their mobile phones at the wheel as part of a trial with the new kit which uses artificial intelligence (AI).

The Argus: The cameras at HandcrossThe cameras at Handcross (Image: Alin Vrasmasu)

It uses a range of cameras to give a variety of views inside a car of the driver and their passengers.

Images which the AI believes show a driver breaking the law are then passed to police for consideration of any action to be taken.

Drivers can be fined up to £500 and given penalty points for not wearing a seatbelt. Using a mobile phone while driving can result in a fine of up to £1,000 and six penalty points.

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Dobinson, head of operations for Sussex Police, said: “This is an exciting initiative and I’m looking forward to seeing the outcomes from the initial trial.

"It gives us a unique opportunity to learn how AI-enabled cameras can potentially support partnership colleagues and ourselves in influencing driver behaviour and keeping motorists safe on our roads."

The National Highways trial first launched in 2021 when motorists spotted driving without seatbelts or on the phone by police using the technology were sent warning letters informing them of the dangers of their behaviour.

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In partnership with infrastructure firm Aecom, the research is now being extended to work with more police forces to help learn more about how the technology could work and inform a possible future roll-out nationwide. 

There are plans for the technology to be fixed to gantries, giving an unobscured view of all lanes. The latest trial began last month and will run until March 2025.

The Argus: The technology can be fixed to a vanThe technology can be fixed to a van (Image: National Highways)

National Highways head of national road user safety delivery Matt Staton said: “We know that distracted driving and not wearing seatbelts were key factors in a high number of incidents that resulted in people being killed or seriously injured.

“Working with our police partners we want to reduce such dangerous driving and reduce the risks posed to both the drivers and other people.

"We believe that using technology like this will make people seriously consider their driving behaviour.

“We will continue to invest in technology that could help make sure everyone using our roads gets home safe and well.”

The cameras will appear unannounced on other roads in the region in the coming year.