As governments around the world struggle to dissuade people from using cellphones while driving, Indian researchers have cut the Gordian knot.
They've developed a new technology that not only jams calls while a vehicle is in motion, but reports the driver's attempt to the authorities.
Researchers in India are developing a new technology that will prevent truck drivers and other road users from using their cell phones while driving. The technology based on RFIDs could also be integrated with police traffic monitoring.
Globally, around one in five fatal road accidents involving trucks and other heavy vehicles occurs while the driver has a cell phone in his or her hand, says Abdul Shabeer of the Anna University of Technology in Tamil Nadu.
"Dialing and holding a phone while steering can be an immediate physical hazard, but the actual conversations also distract a driver's attention," says the team.
Cellphone use also causes distractions that delay reactions to traffic signals, lead to poor lane discipline and inadvertent tailgating, they say.
But the team's new system can determine whether a driver is using a cellphone while the vehicle is in motion and jam the phone signal accordingly - while still allowing passengers to use their phones unhindered.
The system can report infringements, depending on local laws, to traffic police, along with the vehicle's registration number. In an less draconian version, it simply reports the driver's behavior to passengers.
"Not only would such a system reduce road traffic deaths, but it would have the positive side effect of improving how the average goods vehicles are driven overall," says the team.