DoT: Evaluating Tech To Disable Cell Phones

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With an estimated 5,500 people dieing, and about half a million people injured from using a mobile phone whilst driving last year, the Department of Transportation are considering bringing in a technology that disables the use of cell phones whilst you are inside an automobile.

It is no secret that the majority of us have used a mobile phone in our car whilst on the move. This is exactly the practice that the the U.S. Department of Transportation are trying to discourage us from doing. In addition to releasing a video campaign, the “Faces of Distracted Driving,” they are also looking into a technology that would disable mobile phones whilst in a car.

Also See: Slow Down App: Cell Phone Disable Tech for the iPhone

During MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Raymond LaHood said that “There’s a lot of technology out there now that can disable phones and we’re looking at that.”

The the Secretary of Transportation also said that “you have to have good laws, you have to have good enforcement, and you have to have people take personal responsibility. That’s the bottom line,” which undoubtedly it is.

The video campaign we mentioned earlier is a series of online videos that tells the stories of several victims of distracted driving, and a new video is intended to be released every few weeks.

Cell phone jammers are illegal. However, there are alternatives which would disable the phone once the car reached a certain speed. This would be detected via Bluetooth or other radio device that could sense the speed at which you were travelling and shut down the cell phone for that select period of time.

Although I can see sense in the technology, you are faced with two potential problems. One is that the service is ultimately voluntary. The lock can be turned off prior or during, so yet again, it is down to educating these people. The second would be that drivers would constantly stay at low speeds while texting, phoning, which in turn would also cause more accidents and ruin the driving flow.

The only solution as far as I’m concerned is to educate drivers on the dangers of using a cell phone whilst driving, much like we are educated against drink driving. Both are wrong, both severally hinder our chances on the roads, but the only difference is that “text driving” is not considered as a crime, but drink driving is.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think technology to block cell phones is the right direction to take? Or do you prefer the method that aims to educate drives, and dissuade them from “text driving?”

Source: Discovery News

  • Gary Garcia

    I think that the most dangerous use of a cell phone is in traffic at moderate speeds. We've all had inattentive drivers pull out in front of us as they yak on their phones. Probably the least threat is while driving at steady speed down the interstate (at high speeds) while on cruise, especially when traffic is light. Therefore, a device that disables cell phones at higher speeds makes little sense.

    • O.BART

      GARY,ITHINK THERE SHOULD B A DEVICE WHICH JAMS SIGNALS ONCE THE VEHICLE IS IN MOTION…IF A CALL IS TO BE MADE U JUST PULL OVER TO THE SIDE ETC….OR ALTERNATELY TO FACILITATE EMERGENCIES, A PROGRAMME COULD BE INSTALLED WHERE ONLY 3 CALLS FOR A DURATION OF 1 MINUTE CAN BE MADE FOR THE DAY WITHOUT STOPPING……..

      • Jeremy Chalmers

        Check out http://www.trinitynoble.com and the GAVP solution. The precision jammer activates when it senses the drivers cell phone attempting to connect when traveling over a pre set speed (10 mph) but the FCC has advised that the device can not be sold to the general public at this time because of a law that was passed back in 1990 before the first text message was ever sent.
        On the website you can see a passenger talking on their phone in the back seat with no problem but when the phone is passed to the driver the signal is lost. In addition the GAVP has an emergency override tied into the hazard lights.
        While I would not advocate for government mandated installation for the life of me I do not understand how anyone can argue that a parent should not have the choice to install such a device in their child's car.

  • louise

    No, I do not think a device that disables cell phone use in a car is the correct method to use. There are plenty of people that are only passengers in a car, NOT DRIVING, and would cause potential problems for those folks. Find another way!!

  • Harry

    Once again the people who abide by the rules pay for those who dont. Same old shit!!

  • Harry

    Whats the deal, is this Russia, China??

  • Harry

    Whats the deal, the cops drive down the road at high speeds plying with their computers all the time.

  • Jenns

    ok cool so If im in my car getting held up or harassed or have an accident but cant get out then I cant use that cell phone next to me .. meh this is not going to fly

    signed,
    against cell phone use while driving

  • nathan

    so then should it also be illegal to drive if you only have one hand? is that the argument? a disabled person logically shouldn't be able to drive a car unless they have both hands by this reasoning. Or, if it's not that, should it be illegal to have conversations at ALL while driving? someone in my passenger seat could distract me just as much! this is absolutely ludacris. no texting while driving makes sense, but disabling my phone while i am driving is downright socialism.

  • mike

    distracted driving is distracted driving, if the law is in place, then enforce it equally and fairly, in alabama talking or texting on the cell phone while driving will get you a ticket,, iowa as well, i wont answer my cell when driving, they can leave a message.