A startup in Utah has found a way to stop drivers from using cell phones to talk and text while driving. Key2safedriving has developed a jamming feature for the
key that stops a cell phone when the car is in drive mode.
The key, which wirelessly connects to the cell phone with Bluetooth or RFID technology, goes into drive mode when placed in the ignition. Once the car stops and the key is removed, a signal is sent to the phone to restore normal use.
If the driver attempts to use the cell phone while the key is in the ignition, the driver receives this message: "Stop. Your vehicle is currently in driving mode. Please do not talk while driving."
Nearly one million passenger cars are driven in the U.S. each day by people using cell phones, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Using the cell phone degrades driving performance, resulting in slower reaction times, slower driving speeds, and increased instances of attention lapses, according to research by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Inventors Wallace Curry and Xuesong Zhou developed the product after Curry's experience led him to do the research. Curry, a urologist, said his interest came from two factors -- the hospital always contacting him while driving and because he saw a teenager texting while driving, which reminded him of his own teenage daughters.
"I thought, this is crazy, there has got to be something to stop this, because not only is she putting people at risk, but so was I," Curry said. "It struck me pretty hard that something should be done."
Curry and Zhou, a specialist in intelligent transportation systems, came up with the idea to block cell-phone use with an ignition key.
Several states already prohibit cell-phone use while driving, including California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Washington. Text-messaging while driving is banned in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Washington.
Still, a recent study by the IIHS found that teenagers ignore restrictions even though research has shown young drivers on cell phones react no faster than an elderly driver and are as impaired as someone with enough alcohol in their system to be legally drunk.
The NTSB sees technological advances as the only answer to deal with the growing number of fatalities and injuries caused by cell-phone-related accidents.
"At the National Transportation Safety Board, it is our firm belief that advanced technology is a major ingredient in reducing accidents, saving lives, preventing injuries, and lessening the immense emotional and monetary toll of these accidents," said Chairman Mark Rosenker.
"As you probably know, the NTSB has issued recommendations to the states to prohibit young, novice drivers from using electronic communications devices while driving, and to the federal government to prohibit school-bus and motor-coach drivers from using cell phones while driving," said Ted Lopatkiewcz, a spokesperson for NTSB. "While we are happy to see entrepreneurs devising equipment that could promote the goals of these recommendations, we are not in the position to comment on such devices."
While Curry and Zhou had safety in mind, they also considered incentives for drivers to buy their product, which will be available within six months at a cost of less than $50 per key plus a monthly service fee, according to Zhou.
Cell-phone owners who use the Key2safedriving product receive discounts from insurance providers, according to the company. The company would enable this by providing data to insurance companies.
Posted: 2010-09-28 @ 4:33pm PT
This device should be MANDATORY in all motor vehicles !! Do you think one of our usless elected officials at any level of goverment might be motivated to do something about it??