ComSonics, a Virginia-based company is developing a radar gun-like device that will help police officers detect drivers who are texting.
The company claims the gadget works by picking up radio frequencies that emit from a vehicle when someone inside is using a phone, surfing the internet or texting. Because texting, calling, and data transferring emit a distinct frequency, which can be distinguished by the device ComSonics is developing.
According to Pilotonline.com, the concept is similar to that used by cable repairmen searching for the location of where the cable is damaged, which is usually caused by rodents. They basically look for frequencies leaking in a transmission to know the exact location of the damaged part.
ComSonics started out in the cable TV industry and to date provides calibration and repair services for speed enforcement equipment. Malcolm McIntyre of ComicSonics announced the company’s move into developing the texting detection device last Monday during the second yearly Virginia Distracted Driving Summit.
McIntyre explained the device is still not on the production line as it requires legislative approval and adoption by law enforcement and police agencies.
According to reports from the Governors Highway Safety Administration, currently 44 states have laws on the books that prohibit texting while driving. In over 20 states, school bus drivers are banned from using mobile phones in any way when they are behind wheels.
In 2013, during the daylight hours nearly 660,000 drivers in the United States were found texting, using mobile phones or otherwise manipulating electronic devices, which resulted in 3,300 deaths and 421,000 injuries, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Most texting and driving happen during 5 o’clock traffic, when a huge number of cars drive en masse. However there are certain limitations to the device as it can easily confuse the signals coming from the car, whether the device will be able to single out a specific vehicle or if there is more than just the driver sitting inside, and the passenger is doing the texting, will this device be able to determine the difference?
While the violation is easily spotted in a lone driver but with passengers the text detector could create a nuisance of undeserved tickets. Even if it works, this device will not come under the normal “gross invasion of privacy” segment that police tech tends to deal with.
A text detector which is accurate could assist law enforcement clear roadways of distracted drivers while stopping cops from harassing the public.