Stopping phoning/texting while driving. Can technology provide an answer?


This week police begin a clampdown on using a mobile phone while you are driving – and not before time. This follows a series of high profile cases including a lorry driver who killed four people in a car (a woman and her three children) because he was scrolling through his phone looking for music while driving.

As a result of this case, and many more, the law is changing from next year so that anyone caught using a mobile phone while driving will get a fine of £200 and 6 points on their licence, rather than the current 3 points and £100 fine. It’s all a step in the right direction, though arguably still not enough of a deterrent.

But it got me thinking. I seem to remember a conversation I had with Ford a couple of years about technology they were working on to block the driver from being able to make/receive calls, texts etc while they are at the wheel of a car without preventing passengers from using their phones.

It strikes me that, generally speaking, car manufacturers have done an awful lot in helping people integrate their mobile phones into cars, primarily for entertainment purposes, but perhaps not enough to deter them from using them to make and receive calls.

Likewise, telephone manufacturers make it awfully tempting for some people to check their emails etc. at the wheel thanks to pings and chimes that aren’t always that easy to switch off.

Personally, I think the only way you are going to prevent people from using their phones at the wheel is at the very least to make the phone default to the Do Not Disturb setting so the driver isn’t tempted to take a quick peek at the screen.

But I think that’s probably not enough. A much better solution would be to introduce a jamming system that prevents the driver from using the phone at all.

I’ve been reading about a solution here which was first announced four years ago, but I wondered if any car manufacturers have actually implemented such a system yet. I’m not familiar with any solutions yet, but hopefully it’s only a matter of time before common sense prevails.

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