New AI road cameras in Stoke-on-Trent slammed for 'invading privacy'

Drivers have raised concerns that new artificial intelligence cameras are not suitable for UK roads as they 'invade privacy'. The AI cameras were initially tested by National Highways in Stoke-on-Trent after Staffordshire Police was among 10 forces chosen to use the technology.

They have been set up on busy roads such as the M6, A50, A500, A34 and the A53 and are being expanded to other areas.

But there has been criticism that the cameras invade people's privacy as they capture images of people inside their cars.

Louise Thomas, a motor expert at, said: "The introduction of AI cameras means drivers can now be snapped for driving without a seatbelt on, or for using their phone while driving. Having this technology in place is intended to improve road safety and protect both road users and pedestrians from dangerous driving.

READ: New AI cameras coming to Stoke-on-Trent will see bad drivers automatically sent £1k fines The cameras can spot people with no seatbelts or on phones and send the pictures to police with fines of up to £1,000 being sent out

READ: Moment fireball ambulance explodes after dropping off OAP at Staffordshire home The vehicle exploded with such force its roof was ripped off and flew 50ft into the air before crashing through David and Marilyn's garage

"It's clear there's a need for more education on this technology for to understand how they'll be used."

The technology can detect motorists who are not wearing a seatbelt or are using mobile phones the wheel. It is mounted on top of a vehicle or trailer and raised up over the road - and multiple lenses mean different angles are captured of the driver and passengers, adding to the evidence. , reports Birmingham Live.

The images will then be processed using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse whether the motorists are committing an offence. They will then be passed to police for consideration on any action to be taken.

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

One driver expressed his frustration about the AI cameras, saying: "Indeed. We are the most watched, filmed, monitored, photographed and surveilled people in the Western world. All for our own safety and security, of course."

Another driver commented: "It took a little longer than 1984, but Big Brother is now here....and watching everyone."

Ms Thomas responded: "While drivers might be concerned about their privacy, we must remember that any form of distractions in the car could lead to dangerous driving.

"So new cameras like these are not there to catch us out, but to improve road safety. And with recent changes to the Highway Code to account for the advancements in technology, there's no doubt some confusion around what is now considered illegal."

"Not only could distracted driving present safety risks, but it could also lead to fines. For example, using your phone while driving could lead to a fine of £200 and up to 6 points. To avoid being caught out, our guide to using your phone while driving helps clear up any confusion about using devices in the car."

Almost half of the drivers surveyed think that these cameras make the roads safer. However, one in five people feel they invade their privacy.

The National Highways trial first launched in 2021 when motorists were sent warning letters informing them of the dangers of their behaviour. There are plans for the technology to be fixed to gantries for the first time giving an unobscured view of all lanes.

Sign up to our main daily newsletter here and get all the latest news straight to your inbox for FREE