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Anti-texting devices aim to increase driver safety

Technology companies have begun designing devices intended to prevent individuals from texting while driving.

According to federal officials, more than 5,000 Americans are killed in car accidents as a result of distracted driving every year. Nearly 20 percent of those deadly crashes involve the use of a cell phone.

Eleven U.S. states, including New Jersey, have banned texting behind the wheel in an attempt to decrease the number of distracted driving deaths. However, it is often difficult for New Jersey police to spot someone who is texting while driving, and the law is not easily enforced.

Several technology companies have attempted to prevent this potentially deadly action by creating devices to prevent texting behind the wheel. The Protector-Safe Driver System consists of hardware that is installed in the cell phone and additional hardware the goes in the vehicle's steering wheel. When the key is in the ignition, the safety system alerts the cell phone via a Bluetooth signal. The cell phone then becomes locked, preventing the driver from emailing or texting on the device. The device can be programmed to allow incoming and outgoing calls, and also includes a 911 feature in case of emergencies.

Parents can also set up the Protector-Safe Driver system so they receive text alerts when the vehicle driven by their child goes over a certain speed or travels outside of a certain area. The parent can also receive an alert if the system is tampered with or disabled.

Taking a different approach, the VoiceAssist program offers a cell phone service that converts a spoken message into emails and texts, protecting drivers who find themselves unable to refrain from texting behind the wheel.

If you have been injured as a result of a distracted driving car accident, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Devices, laws may curb texting behind the wheel", Sarah Lundy, 23 March 2011

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