Step aside radar guns; cops may soon have a new tool in their arsenal to help save lives: a texting while driving detector gun.
For eons, police officers have used a litany of measures to lessen crash risks and decrease the numbers of vehicular fatalities caused by distracted drivers. Many are familiar with speed traps, random DUI stops, aerial traffic monitoring and radar guns. However, one company says it’s time to disrupt the industry with improved ways to decrease deaths and injuries with text messaging detection.
ComSonics is a company with roots in the cable TV industry. It also provides calibration technology for law enforcement devices used in speed detection. Monday, at the second annual Virginia Distracted Driving Summit, company representative Malcolm McIntyre spoke about how a new device, the so-called driving while texting detector, is being tested to give law enforcement a leg up on those who violate traffic laws, according to Hampton Roads.
Basically, the device works in similar fashion to tools used to find leaks in cable lines. Text messages have electronic signatures, and the texting detector gun can pick up the unique frequencies attached to portable devices. It sounds like something out of Buck Rogers, but sounds plausible enough to detect distracted drivers.
According to Drivers.com, the top 3 leading causes of accidents on American roads are (1) distracted driving, (2) speeding and (3) drunk driving (DUI/DWI). For a time, speeding and drinking while impaired topped the charts as chief reasons why people are injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents.
“Drivers who use a hand-held device are 4 times more likely to get into a car accident than drivers that pay attention to the road ahead. Individuals who text message while driving are 23 times more likely to get into an accident.”
With the introduction of the smartphone, internet and social media, people have developed a need and desire to stay connected and be social more than ever before. Sending text messages has grown to be one of America’s leading daily habits, especially among teenagers and young adults.
What is more, walking and texting while driving are responsible for increasing numbers of trips to hospital emergency rooms, some 2.3 million annually, according to the Centers For Disease and Prevention (CDC).
Today, 44 of 50 states have laws on the books that ban drivers from using devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets and watches) to send text messages. The laws are varied; some require an officer to stop a motorist for a primary violation first, before issuing a citation for texting behind the wheel.
Moreover, some states that allow drivers to talk on cellphones while driving give motorists loopholes. However, with the new texting gun to detect text message transmissions, it adds another crucial tool for enforcement personnel
But don’t expect the text gun devices to be in cops’ hands soon. Deployment of this new technology has to pass legislative and privacy hurdles. Also, police departments must be willing to foot the costs.
[Image via: News-Argus]