The government is fighting a war against motorists who refuse to leave their phones alone while behind the wheel. Plans have already been introduced to increase the penalty for those caught using a phone while driving, but a new technology could prevent motorists’ phones from working completely, all the time that they are driving.
The device, created by American inventor Scott Tibbitts, is around half the size of a pack of cards and links to cars’ electronic systems – and is capable of blocking calls, messages and social media alerts, to reduce driver distraction.
Named Groove, this device can detect when a mobile phone is located inside the car and stops it receiving incoming calls or texts, if the vehicle is moving at more than 5mph. The phone subsequently reactivates when the engine is switched off.
I’m convinced there’s a great business and convinced it will save a bunch of lives.
Groove is likely to be launched in the USA by the middle of 2015 and could arrive in the UK shortly afterwards. The small unit costs around £15 and involves a £6 monthly charge. Mr Tibbitts expects that insurance companies will be happy to meet the cost, as drivers should be less distracted and less likely to crash.
The inventor began work on this device in 2008 after a colleague was killed in a car crash that involved a teenager who had been texting while driving.
He told the Sunday Times: “I’m convinced there’s a great business and convinced it will save a bunch of lives.” It remains to be seen whether car passengers will be able to use their phones while travelling in a car that uses this technology.