According to researchers at India’s Anna University of Technology, up to 20-percent of fatal traffic accidents involving trucks or heavy commercial vehicles may be linked back to driver cell phone usage. That’s a global number, not one specific to India, and the threat of fines and penalties seems to have no significant impact on the use of mobile phones behind the wheel.
As Inside Line
reports, that statistic prompted Anna University scientists H. Abdul Shabeer, R.S.D. Wahidabnu and H. Abdul Zubarto develop a system called the Cell Phone Accident Preventer, or CAP for short.
Using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, CAP blocks the mobile signal
of the driver’s phone only, relying on a low-powered jammer and an antenna mounted near the driver’s seat. Passenger cell phone use is reportedly unaffected, which begs the question “what happens if the driver leans to his right?”
In addition to blocking the driver’s cell phone signal, CAP also uses an embedded transmitter to notify police of the violation, which could result in fines and license points, depending upon the jurisdiction. Since a traffic stop would be necessary for ticketing, it sounds like the system is far from foolproof.
Without going into detail, the researchers describe the system as “low cost,” which will likely make it attractive to commercial fleets, especially if the implementation cost can be offset by insurance discounts.
Whether this system (which is still a long way from being a commercially viable product) is good news or bad news depends entirely on your view of behind-the-wheel cell phone use
, but this much is clear: if that 20-percent figure is accurate, this is a problem that needs to be addressed.