Could a Little Black Box Solve Distracted Driving?

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Distracted driving is a big problem in Michigan, and across the country. But is anything strong enough to overcome the urge to respond to that text notification? And if it is, would you use it?

So far in the U.S. in 2014 there have been over 725,000 car crashes involving distracted driving. Even though it’s illegal to text and drive in Michigan and 44 other states, a third of drivers still admit to doing it. So if the threat of a ticket isn’t enough to stop distracted driving, what is?

A Device to Stop Distracted Driving

Engineer Scott Tibbitts has partnered with Sprint and American Family Insurance to invent a device, called telematics, that could actually block incoming and outgoing calls, texts, and emails. The small black box is mounted beneath the steering column of the car. It pairs with the phone to a send message that the car is moving and to identify the driver’s phone on the device’s servers. The system locates each phone registered to the box, and turns off the one that has the same GPS coordinates as the car.

But Will it Sell?

The problem for Tibbitts isn’t technical, it’s cultural. Low cost and even free GPS anti-text systems already exist, including AT&T’s DriveMode and Sprint’s Drive First. But people aren’t using them because of the strong pressure to be constantly available. Even with tens of thousands of users, they only amount to a drop in the bucket.

Could Liability Block the Signal?

Even though the box is tested and ready to go, it’s not headed to market any time soon. Sprint’s legal department is dragging its feet due to potential liability.

“If that one message does get through, and someone understood, ‘I bought this and I’ll be safe,’ what does that mean for our brand and our business?” said Wayne Ward, vice president for business and product development at Sprint.

Distracted driving is the cause horrible and even fatal car accidents. Crashes caused by a text message are completely avoidable by using GPS apps or devices like Tibbitt’s Telematics. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a distracted driving accident, you need the no-fault experts at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan to help you get the recovery you deserve. Contact David Christensen and his team for a free consultation today.