Virginia-based company ComSonic is developing a radar gun that can detect when someone is texting and driving.
Drawing from the technology used by cable technicians to repair lines by reading frequencies emitted from leaks and damages, the company is using this same concept to detect radio frequencies, sent out from text messages when the phone is being used in the car.
This device could help decrease the number of distracted drivers on the road, and with that, reduce the number of accidents caused by texting and driving each year.
Texting while driving increases the risk of a crash by 23 percent compared to a situation where a driver is not distracted, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
In 2012, 3,328 were killed and an estimated 421,000 were injured in distraction-affected crashes, the Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving said.
Teenagers are the group most at risk for texting and driving accidents. Newsday reports that in 2013, texting and driving replaced drunk driving as the number one killer of American teens who openly admit to texting behind the wheel.
Currently, 44 states have banned texting while driving for all drivers while others only ban new drivers. In Arizona, only school bus drivers are banned from using handheld devices while driving.
You can find state-by-state information on distracted driving laws in this report by the Government Highway Safety Association.
Although ComSonic’s texting radar device could help reduce accidents, some are concerned about the breach of privacy that could be involved with accessing drivers’ cell phone data.
“It would really depend on what it could detect,” said Jeffrey Kegler, an attorney for Scottsdale-based Arizona traffic attorneys Corso Law Group, who has had extensive experience and certification working with the calibration and testing of DUI breathalyzers and photo radar equipment at Columbia Analytical Services.
“I would almost guarantee that it could not tell the difference between streaming, sharing a wireless signal or transferring data to your car,” Kegler said.
Malcolm McIntyre, ComSonic’s calibration services manager, said that text messages emit a different frequency than other cell phone activities, and the equipment would not be able to decrypt information transmitted from drivers’ phones, The Virginian-Pilot reports.
The fledgling device still faces several hurdles before production goes underway, including legislative approval, adoption by police departments and determining whether it could tell who in the vehicle was texting when a driver has multiple passengers in the car.
Most drivers tense up and hit the brakes when they see a police officer pointing a radar gun at their cars, but in the future, be aware that photo radar might detect more than just speed. The Arizona traffic lawyers at Corso Law Group are here to provide Arizona drivers with expert defense from photo radar issues.