ORIGOSafe aims to keep drivers from texting
ORIGOSafe won't allow a car to start unless the driver first hands over their phone
According to a recent study by the American Automobile Association, seven out of ten drivers admit to text messaging while driving. Combine that with a study by Virginia Tech, which concluded that texting drivers are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in an accident, and you begin to see how big of a problem it is. ORIGOSafe is one of the latest products designed to stop texting-and-driving – it won’t let your car start unless your phone is plugged into the device.
As it’s doubtful (but not impossible) that many drivers would buy an ORIGOSafe to stop themselves from texting, the device is being marketed more as something that parents could use to keep their adolescent kids from doing so, or that fleet managers could use with their drivers.
The device is installed in the vehicle’s center console, and looks vaguely like an in-dash 8-track tape player. In order to enable the car’s ignition, drivers must first insert their phone in the ORIGOSafe. As they drive, it charges their phone, and allows them to make and receive phone calls via Bluetooth – although even carrying on hands-free phone conversations while driving has still been shown to be hazardous.
One question does arise, though ... what if the driver doesn’t have their phone with them? If it’s teens we’re talking about, presumably such a scenario is considered to be highly unlikely.
Although the phone can physically be removed once driving is underway, doing so will cause an alarm to sound, plus it will result in that particular user subsequently being unable to start the car – even with their phone plugged into the device. Only that particular device’s system administrator (such as a parent or fleet manager) will be able to unlock it for that user.
The device will allow the phone to be removed while the parking brake is on, allowing for text messaging while the engine is running but the vehicle is stopped.
As mentioned, other products have taken their own approaches to thwarting texting drivers. TXTBlocker and cellCONTROL, for instance, simply block text message signals within the car. Textecution, on the other hand, is an app that disables texting functionality if the phone’s accelerometer detects that the vehicle is moving.
ORIGOSafe is now available for preorder, and is priced at US$279 plus installation. It can be seen in use in the video below.
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
All articles by Ben Coxworth
Having had my share of high-end aftermarket alarms systems fail and immobilizing my vehicle, I'm against any hardwired solution for safety reasons. If the vehicle manufacturer offered a similar option then I might consider one. Today's vehicle electrical systems are far more complicated and nothing to tinker with unless you have a direct relationship with the vehicle manufacturer. There is also the question of whether this voids the existing vehicle manufacturer's factory warranty.
How much would a second phone that's sole purpose is to fill the slot cost?
This type of system is essentially useless because of the ease of getting around it.
When I first saw the photo, I thought it was the return of the 8 track. :)
I think the idea behind it is good.
I agree with the statement that a teen ager without a cell phone is highly unlikely. :)
I have read about a study in the UK about using mobile phone while driving. Mind you I am talking about a conversation and NOT texting, which is even worse.
The study attributed 60 % of all road accidents to the driver talking on his/her mobile phone. Apparently the drivers while conversing develop tunnel vision and are oblivious to all the happenings in their peripheral vision area.
I must say the US public must be stupid if there has to be a discussion regarding any law that would curtail phone use while driving !
Passing ineffective laws is bad on several levels. I this case simply getting influential people to indicate that only a complete dweeb would use a phone while driving would achieve higher compliance rates and not set up "The Law" in general as something to be ignored.
Only works with basically two phones, so far. That's going, in the end, to be the biggest problem. Even aftermarket vendors of docking devices can't keep-up with all the models. It would have to be some kind of universal mount, where the width and thickness of the phone would be adjustable, and the male charger/USB plug at the bottom could be moved up/down/left/right and then secured into the right position for the phone in question.
Only that sort of thing would ever make this device even close to ubiquitous... er... well... that, and not charging and arm and a leg for it, as is now charged.
Then there's also what @Fahrenheit 451, here, was dead-on to mention, to wit: How the failure of this thing could strand someone somewhere. There needs to be a physical emergency override switch, maybe under the hood or something.
I dunno... I really like the notion of it, but not the practicability.
This device + car accident = LAWSUIT
Car jacking + this device = LAWSUIT
High $ fines, loss of license, ad campaign and aggressive enforcement is the most effective way to put an end to texting while driving.
Real easy to spot texting drivers as they aren't staying centered in their lane or looking at the road OR using their turn signals.
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