New system puts the brake on mobile phone use while driving
By Darren Quick
July 6, 2012
By now, everyone should know that using your mobile phone while driving is dangerous. Yet, when hitting the road the chances are you’ll still see someone holding a phone to their ear while behind the wheel. Researchers in India are aiming to take away the ability for drivers to chat on the phone altogether by developing a system that blocks the a driver's mobile phone signal, while not affecting the phones of other passengers in the vehicle.
The researchers from India's Anna University of Technology in Tamilnadu point out that around 20 percent of fatal road accidents with trucks and other heavy vehicles globally involve drivers who have been operating a mobile phone at the time of the accident. It isn’t only the dialing and holding the phone, but also the conversations themselves that can take drivers’ attention off the road. This means that both in-hand and hands-free mobile phone use increase the chances of an accident occurring. They also delay reactions at intersections, cause lane drifting and result in drivers shortening the gap between their vehicle and the one in front.
To put a stop to this kind of behavior, the research team has devised a system that determines whether the person behind the wheel is using a mobile phone while the vehicle is in motion and triggers a mobile jammer that will block the phone signals. Because the jammer is only low-range, the team says other passengers in the vehicle will be able to continue using their phones.
With using a mobile phone while driving illegal in many places around the world, the team says the system could also be adapted to report traffic infringements to the police. In such cases, an RFID tag would store details of the infringement, along with the vehicle’s registration details, and transmit them to a traffic signal post where police could access the information. Alternatively, the system could provide the driver with an alert when they attempt to use a phone.
The team’s system, which is primarily targeted at drivers of heavy vehicles, is described in a paper in the International Journal of Enterprise Network Management.