Channel 19

Todd Dills

Cell-phone jamming technology in your cab?

| July 13, 2012

Much has been made of the inability and/or difficulty of state enforcement of the Department of Transportation’s nationwide ban on handheld cellphone use behind the wheel. Last I’ve written about it you can find here and here. In the story at the former of those links, reader Martin GrosecIose put forward the notion that combating distraction among the general public on the roadways was getting to the point where it’s just too little too late — motorists are at this point just too addicted to their devices.

I asked, definitely rhetorically and somewhat facetiously, as it were, “Will it ultimately take further technological advancements — autopilot-type technology? — to combat the distraction problem, minus the complete annihilation of phones?”

Well, this week came news that researchers in India’s Anna University of Technology in Chennai have developed a new RFID-based technology aimed at commercial truckers they’re calling the “Cellphone Accident Preventer,”  or CAP, according to the Inside Line website. To wit:

It’s a low-cost system that jams the mobile signal. The system only impacts the driver’s phone because an antenna is placed above the driver seat, and because the jammer signal has such a low range, passenger phones remain usable.

“C.A.P. has a bit of a Big Brother tattletale aspect to it, too.,” the story goes on to note. No kidding: “An embedded transmitter also alerts police when the driver uses a phone, so his or her infraction could result in a ticket.”

Like I said, they had heavy-truck drivers in mind in developing it, but I can see an unfortunate future for such technology in all vehicles, given the profusion of stoplight/toolbooth/traffic cameras handing out automatic tickets. Good news for the problem of distracted four wheelers? Other thoughts? (One may recall owner-operator Phil Madsen’s vision of ticket-writing drones here.)

And here’s another question: At this point, how much do you use your phone while driving, whether holding it in your hand or not? Tell me in the poll below: