'Texting guns' to put a stop to distracted driving
Monday, 06 October 2014
While it’s easy for police to spot motorists who are chatting away on their mobile phones, catching drivers in the middle of texting can be trickier. However, thanks to some groundbreaking technology from the USA, that could soon be a thing of the past.
The ‘texting gun’, named Sniffer Sleuth II, has been developed by Virginian tech company ComSonics, and works by detecting text message frequencies. As distracted driving can be up to six times more dangerous than drink driving, this could make a huge difference to the safety of road users. It could also mean a significant drop in car insurance claims.
However, it’s unlikely that our police will be using the Sniffer Sleuth II right now, as ComSonics still has a few issues to iron out. At the moment it’s not possible to detect who the text was sent by if there are multiple passengers in the car. Legal fellow Andrew Kloster explains: “If I’m driving, and my wife sends a text message on my phone, and I’m pulled over, what happens then? I don’t think that would be good enough evidence to get a conviction.”
Although the technology hasn't reached us quite yet, you should still avoid using your mobile in any way when you’re behind the wheel. Making calls, sending texts and posting on social media are all illegal while driving. If the police spot you, you could be fined up to £1,000 and lose your licence.
If the temptation of a new text popping up on your screen is too much to ignore, it’s a good idea to take some precautions. Either turn your phone off before getting in the car, or lock it safely in the dashboard for the duration of the trip. You could also take a leaf out of Florida’s book and appoint a 'designated texter'; a trusted friend who can answer your texts while you keep your eyes on the road ahead.