Since laws haven't been able to curb distracted driving, engineers at Rutgers University hope technology can.
Rutgers researcher Marco Gruteser says his team has developed a smart phone app that pinpoints where a cell phone user is sitting by using the car’s sound system through Bluetooth connectivity.
“It does that by measuring the signals back over the microphone, you can tell if it is closer to the driver's seat or closer to the passenger seat,” Gruteser tells KTRH News.
Gruteser insists it is much more accurate than existing apps that gauge speed.
“This one can distinguish between a driver and a passenger inside a car,” he says. “Using speed you might be able to tell if someone is inside a vehicle, but you wouldn't know that person is in the backseat or whether that person is the one actually driving the vehicle.”
Jennifer Chen at Stevens Institute of Technology says the app will lock down the phone, and has other applications as well.
“It will update the driver's calling status on Facebook or automatically reply to the caller telling them the driver is driving,” says Chen.
Researchers hope their concept gets cell phone makers interested in commercializing it.