Device Blocks Teens From Texting While Driving - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Device Blocks Teens From Texting While Driving

The Key2SafeDriving car key wirelessly disables cell phones via a Bluetooth or RFID connection while the car is turned on.

With the dangers of cell phone usage by drivers becoming increasingly evident, a University of Utah researcher has produced a device that eliminates the perils of cell phone use in cars.

The device disables cell phones when a specially engineered car key is inserted in a car's ignition.

The Key2SafeDriving car key wirelessly disables cell phones. The device was developed by Xuesong Zhou, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the university. Zhou believes the device would have an eager market with parents worried about their teenagers driving and using their cell phones at the same time.

The device works like this: The system covers every driver in a car by connecting wirelessly via Bluetooth or RFID to cell phones and disables the phones. Blocked drivers can't make calls or use texting features on their phones with the exception of 911 calls and any phone numbers specifically programmed for use. For instance, parents could specify that phones be programmed so their children could call home. Incoming calls would receive a response reading, "I am driving now." When the car's engine is turned off, the cell phones would revert to normal usage.

Zhou believes the Key2SafeDriving device would appeal to insurance companies and cell phone service providers. Zhou has no current plans to market the device directly to consumers.

"At any given time, 10% of teenagers who are driving are talking or texting," Zhou said in a statement. "At any given time, about 6% of travelers on the road are talking on a cell phone while driving." While a direct correlation between cell phone usage and car accidents is still somewhat hazy, there is growing evidence that texting while driving is extremely distracting and can lead to car accidents.

University of Utah researchers, who have produced a series of studies on the dangers of drivers using cell phones while behind the wheel, maintain that some studies demonstrate that drivers using cell phones are about four times as likely to get in a crash as drivers not using cell phones.

The device, which was co-developed by Utah University graduate Dr. Wally Curry, is covered by patents that have been licensed to Key2SafeDriving. The initial stimulus for the device came from Curry, who, after observing a teenage girl driving while texting, worried that his young daughters one day might be tempted to do the same dangerous activity. Curry and Zhou then developed the Key2SafeDriving device.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
How to Create a Successful AI Program
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/14/2020
Think Like a Chief Innovation Officer and Get Work Done
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  10/13/2020
10 Trends Accelerating Edge Computing
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/8/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2020 State of DevOps Report
2020 State of DevOps Report
Download this report today to learn more about the key tools and technologies being utilized, and how organizations deal with the cultural and process changes that DevOps brings. The report also examines the barriers organizations face, as well as the rewards from DevOps including faster application delivery, higher quality products, and quicker recovery from errors in production.
Current Issue
[Special Report] Edge Computing: An IT Platform for the New Enterprise
Edge computing is poised to make a major splash within the next generation of corporate IT architectures. Here's what you need to know!
Flash Poll