New AI cameras hit UK roads and can detect if seatbelt is being worn

Drivers have been warned of hefty fines as new AI cameras are capable of detecting if a seatbelt is worn. South Gloucestershire Council is cracking down on rulebreakers and has rolled out new roadside camera technology in the county.

The new smart tech can detect motorists who are not wearing a seatbelt or using mobile phones while driving. Pamela Williams, road safety education and sustainable travel training manager at the council, said: "We know that distracted driving and not wearing seatbelts are contributory factors in people being killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions.

"Working with our 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 and help make sure everyone using our roads gets home safe and well."

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Dr Jamie Uff, Technical Director at AECOM and the lead research professional managing the deployment of the technology, said: "AECOM is really pleased to be continuing our work with South Gloucestershire Council and Acusensus.

"Despite the efforts of road safety organisations to change behaviour through education, the numbers of people killed or seriously injured as a result of these unsafe driving practices remains high. The use of technology like this makes detection of these behaviours straightforward and is providing valuable insight to the police and policy makers."

Louise Thomas at, added that this new technology aims to help improve road safety, protecting both road users and pedestrians from dangerous driving. Thomas commented: “Not focusing when behind the wheel can also result in near-misses or accidents. And for the drivers who are caught driving dangerously, they could be banned from driving altogether."

The technology collects images of the vehicles, which are then initially processed using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse whether the motorists could be using a handheld mobile phone or if people in the vehicle are not wearing a seatbelt. If the AI identifies a likely offence, the images are sent on for review by at least two specially trained operators, South Gloucestershire Council said.