The statistics clearly show the dangers of texting while driving:
These startling numbers have led to the development of systems that attempt to remove the distraction of mobile phones, by automatically blocking texts and phone calls when the car is in gear.
New Berlin engineer, John Looby, is the man behind one such new system that connects to the vehicle’s onboard diagnostics port and disables texts and calls until the vehicle comes to a complete stop.
Mr Looby believes the simple and inexpensive device could one day become as common as airbags and seatbelts.
Ford Motor Co is set to feature a similar system in its 2011 vehicles equipped with MyFord or MyLincoln Touch. Called “Do Not Disturb”, mobiles paired with the onboard SYNC system will not receive texts and all calls will be forwarded to voicemail. Ford’s system does not restrict voice-activated outgoing calls.
Some GPS-based smart-phone applications also block texting when they detect the phone is moving, but have their limitations, as they cannot tell the difference between when the owner is driving or simply a passenger.
According to the Australian Road Rules, the only time a driver is allowed to touch a mobile phone when a car is not parked is if they are handing it to another passenger in the car.
Texting, hand-held talking, emailing, turning the phone off and on, and operating any of the other functions are all banned. Resting a phone on any part of the driver’s body, besides in a clothing pocket or pouch, is also illegal according to the road rules.