A next-generation radar gun could show police if drivers are using mobile phones.
Police could soon be equipped with a hand-held device to catch drivers using their phone behind the wheel.
The US-based Virginian Pilot newspaper reports that a small tech firm is blending electronic cable repair technology with police equipment to create a new tool for law enforcement.
ComSonics, which works to calibrate radar guns and other police equipment, says its technology is “close to production”.
Based around sensors used to detect radio emissions leaking from damaged electronic cables, the device could show police which cars are actively using mobile phone data.
The company says there are no real privacy concerns surrounding its proposal as the device cannot decode information such as text messages.
But there could be practical hurdles surrounding such a device.
ComSonics presented its technology at a distracted driving summit in Virginia, where it told delegates that there were several hurdles to clear surrounding use of the technology.
It’s not clear whether it would be able to reveal whether a driver or passenger is using a phone, or whether drivers are using phones legally, through Bluetooth or dock-based systems.
Colorado-based entrepreneur Scott Tibbits has proposed a different solution.
His company, Katasi, has developed a system that will lock incoming calls or text messages to mobile phones while cars are on the move. The system involves a small black box that connects to a car’s onboard diagnostics port before blocking incoming mobile traffic to the driver’s handset.
Passengers are free to use phones as the system can learn a family’s patterns and movements before deducing who is driving the car – such as a teenager driving home from school – while using GPS sensors to check if a phone is moving or stationary.
Police in NSW fine around 1000 drivers each week for mobile phone use. Transport for NSW statistics suggest that four people were killed and 66 injured between 2006 and 2010 as a result of drivers using mobile phones.