A new vehicle plug-in disables calls and texts to make driving safer, as growing rates of distracted driving prompt lawmakers and drivers to find secure solutions.
CellControl, created by Scosche, plugs into a vehicle’s standard OBD-II interface and works with a corresponding mobile app to disable all handset activities that are not hands-free, including calls and texts, when the vehicle is in motion.
Distracted driving caused one out of every eleven traffic deaths in the U.S. last year, and with the growing popularity of mobile devices, drivers are more reluctant than ever to put down their phones, leaving lawmakers and phone makers to search for new solutions.
Experiments in New York and Connecticut last year successfully combined a public education campaign, increased police presence, and higher ticket fines to cut rates of cell phone use behind the wheel. More states are likely to adopt such measures if distracted driving continues to cause accidents.
As laws ramp up against the issue, CellControl offers a consumer-centered option to curb distracted driving. CellControl retails for $129, which may seem a steep price for some drivers. However, as more and more states pass laws that prohibit hands-on calling and texting while driving, disabling systems could prove invaluable to drivers who would otherwise incur hefty ticket fines if pulled over by police.
Further, CellControl is uniquely equipped to help parents monitor newer drivers. Attempts to remove the system are automatically reported to an administrator, giving parents the opportunity to control and adjust their children’s use of mobile devices while driving. With teens particularly susceptible to texting while driving, CellControl will likely be a valuable tool for vigilant parents to help guide their children’s driving habits.
However, several less expensive apps perform similar functions, and haven’t seemed to significantly reduce rates of distracted driving. Systems like CellControl leave decisions about talking and texting behind the wheel up to individual drivers, and may prove too easy to switch off to have a real effect. Policy makers will likely continue to pursue solutions at the legal and political levels in order to create lasting change.
Systems like CellControl can help with the distracted driving problem, providing a safe and cost-effective alternative to pricey traffic violations, but only if consumers choose to buy them and use them.