Drive on any road or highway, and you’ll bump into a similar irritation when a car goes slowly within the left lane, or swerving within the right, or turning while not employing a signal. after you finally pass, you almost certainly aren’t the smallest amount bit stunned to check what’s going on: the driving force is distracted by a cellular phone.
The use of mobile phones while driving is not only an irritation—it is very much dangerous trend. A survey by the Department of Transportation found that eighteen percent of all distraction-related fatal automobile crashes within the us concerned a phone, and a University of Illinois study showed that talking on a phone consistently reduced drivers’ response times, whether or not they used a hands-free device or not. As smartphones proliferate, things are solely obtaining worse: A recent survey of smartphone house owners indicated that just about twenty percent browse the net whereas driving, and knowledge indicate that texting whereas driving could also be even additional dangerous than calling.
Because of this dozens of counties and a majority of U.S. states has led to ban either calling or texting whereas driving. Obviously, though, inconsistently enforced laws aren’t enough to discourage drivers from obtaining their communications fix. So a team of engineers at the Anna University of Technology in Chennai, India, has set to use technology to force drivers to stay their eyes on the road.
Their prototype system, as described in a piece revealed yesterday within the International Journal of Enterprise Network Management, uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to automatically detect whether or not a automobile is in motion and if the driving force is trying to use a mobile. The system then triggers a low-range mobile jammer to forestall solely the driver’s phone from operating, whereas permitting passengers to continue calling and texting freely.
Previously, technologies are leveraged to forestall drivers from using cell phones in additional indirect ways in which. The SafeTexting app for Android phones prevents the sending and receiving of text messages whereas a automobile is in motion—but it conjointly prevents passengers from using their phones. A system presented last year at the International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking uses a car’s speakers to provide a series of beeps, that are then detected by a phone provided that it’s in use and within the driver’s seat, thereby reminding the driving force to hold up.
This new system goes one step any, actively blocking the transmission of information from a driver’s phone so he or she has no alternative however to prevent making an attempt to use it. Using RFID, a similar technology gift in electronic toll assortment systems like E-ZPass, the device automatically detects signals coming back from the driver’s phone whereas the vehicle is in motion and uses a jammer to forestall transmission.
The engineers designed the system with the notoriously accident-prone Indian trucking trade in mind, envisioning truck house owners putting in it in hopes of preventing employee drivers from using phones whereas on the road. They conjointly note, though, that it might be linked with native law enforcement efforts to forestall drivers from using phones. When the device detects a driver employing a phone, it might automatically transmit knowledge stored during a vehicle’s registration code RFID tag to a police reader, therefore the driver might be pulled over and given a price tag. Future state or national laws might, for instance, force automobile makers to incorporate the device in all new cars as a compulsory safety feature, as occurred with seat belts and air luggage.
All of this is often bound to have road-safety advocates excited—and privacy advocates understandably involved. When our devices are distracting us to the purpose of lethal accidents, ought to the police be able to electronically detect when we’re on the phone and jam our communications? It’s troublesome to make your mind up if privacy got to be sacrificed for safety, however one factor is for sure: when years of technological advancements that have connected, entertained and eventually distracted us, future technologies to force our attention back on the road are bound to come back.