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Devices could help prevent accidents caused by distracted driving

A recent wireless trade show brought together innovative companies from around the country, some that are working to develop new technologies to try to stop drivers from texting behind the wheel.

Many states, including eleven last year, have laws against texting while driving. Other states’ lawmakers, including those in Nevada, are working towards passing  anti-texting-while-driving laws. The wireless companies at the recent trade show are a step ahead, creating technology that will prevent a driver from the unsafe practice of texting while driving.

In 2009, 5,000 Americans died in motor vehicle accidents that involved a distracted driver, and 18 percent of these fatalities involved a driver distracted by a cell phone. These new technologies could save lives by removing a driver’s temptation to text or e-mail while driving or could be used by employers or parents to prevent employees or teens from texting while driving.

One of the technologies was developed by the company that makes the Taser stun guns. The company created a device that is installed next to a vehicle’s steering wheel. When the car is started, the device sends a Bluetooth signal to software installed in the driver’s cell phone that disables the phone. The phone could still be used for 911 calls or could be programmed for use by a passenger.

Other devices work by disabling a phone when in a vehicle moving over 10 mph. Certain devices can also be checked by employers or parents to see if the drivers they supervise are complying with the rules.


Devices, laws may curb texting behind the wheel (Orlando Sentinel)

John P. Aldrich
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