Developer’s Story Shows Struggles of Using Tech to Fight Texting While Driving

Sep 25, 2014 | Auto Accidents

A recent story in the New York Times highlights a Colorado man’s struggles to develop and distribute technology that can stop people from texting while driving. As his story illustrates, technology alone likely won’t solve this issue.

The developer, Scott Tibbitts, created a wireless network-based way to block drivers from using their phones and from sending or reading texts while operating their vehicles, according to the Times. The technology is seen as a step up from existing GPS-based blocking systems.

However, a network partner that at one time seemed to be along for the ride, Sprint, has stalled on the project, the Times reports. The company cited concerns about liability if the device failed.

However, as the article speculates, Sprint may have simply seen a lack of market demand. The reality may be that consumers are more interested in being connected while driving instead of being safe.

Innovative System Uses ‘Telematics’

To work effectively, a system that blocks drivers from texting or talking on a phone while driving must know that the person is, in fact, driving.

Many existing apps rely on GPS systems to indicate when a person is driving, including the Sprint Drive First app, AT&T DriveMode app and an app provided by Aegis Mobility.

However, GPS-based systems have their drawbacks. First, drivers can easily bypass them. Second, using GPS systems can quickly drain a phone’s battery, as the Times describes.

Tibbitts’ system seeks to solve that problem by using “telematics,” or a combination of telecommunications and mobility. In particular, the system works by plugging a telematics box into an OBD 2 port found in most cars today.

The box transmits a message to the wireless network which conveys that the car is moving and gives its location. This message is fed to servers, which are able to determine whose phone it is and to block all texts, calls and e-mails to that phone.

Sprint Wavers in Support of New Technology

On one hand, the environment is perfect for this new technology to flourish, the Times points out.

In the past, cell phone carriers charged users by the minute. They had no incentive to stop drivers from texting or talking while driving. However, today, many carriers offer unlimited use and earn money by getting fees from insurance companies for carrying wireless connections on their networks.

Sprint, for instance joined support of Tibbitts’ project along with an insurance company, American Family Insurance.

However, on the other hand, maybe the public isn’t ready for blocking technology. As the Times points out, relatively few drivers have adopted GPS-based systems, and Sprint may have recently wavered in its support of Tibbitts’ network-based system because “costs were mounting, [and] the returns unclear.”

‘This Is a Behavior Problem’

Ultimately, as Tibbitts’ concedes, texting while driving is a “behavior problem.” It may take many years before anti-texting technology is not only developed but also accepted by the public.

Technology, in this sense, is just one part of a multi-pronged approach to solving this issue. We must also continue to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving, pass tough laws and enforce those laws.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.


No Fees Unless We Win

    How Trucking Safety Regulations May Influence Your Case in Virginia

    Virginia truck drivers and commercial trucking company owners must observe certain state and federal safety rules. As an accident victim, showing that the liable party violated one of these laws can reinforce your case and help you claim compensation. Let’s examine a...

    Why Drinking, Drugs and Driving are a Dangerous Combination

    Do you want to be the cause of a senseless tragedy? Each year, countless lives are lost because people decide to drink or drug and drive. It’s an irresponsible act that recklessly endangers not only your life, but also those of innocent bystanders. Whether you’re a...

    What Are the Most Dangerous Intersections in Richmond, Virginia?

    According to Virginia’s car crash map, over 5,700 vehicle accidents occurred in Richmond, VA, in 2022. While a car accident can happen anywhere, some intersections in Richmond are notorious for their high number of crashes. So which intersections in Richmond pose the...

    What Is the Statute of Limitations After a Virginia Truck Accident?

    Did you suffer injuries in a Virginia truck accident? You may be able to sue the truck driver or the trucking company, but you must file your claim within a specified time limit called the statute of limitations. Virginia courts enforce this deadline very strictly and...

    Do Tractor Trailers Have a Black Box?

    One of the first orders or business after a truck crash is to request access to the tractor trailer’s black box. Black boxes often contain critical evidence that can help establish the facts of the accident and support your claim. However, the law requires trucking...

    Our Case Results

    Industrial Plant Accident

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Jeffrey A. Breit and Justin M. Sheldon Our client was killed in an industrial accident when an unauthorized worker was operating an overhead crane and pinned our client between…

    Rear-End Crash

    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury, facial trauma, a dislocated hip and severe abdominal trauma when she was rear-ended at a traffic light by a tractor trailer. Suit was commenced shortly after…

    Assault of Log Truck Driver

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Geoffrey R. McDonald, Frank H. Hupfl, Justin M. Sheldon.
    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted and knocked to the ground while fueling his logging…

    Drunk Driving Crash

    Our client suffered neck/head trauma and a broken wrist after his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver while he was stopped at a traffic light. Upon rejection of a settlement offer of $325,000, our litigation…

    Rear-End Collision

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Justin M. Sheldon and Geoff R. McDonald, Richmond
    GMA’s client was injured as a result of a rear-end collision in the greater Richmond area. The crash occurred a little after…

    Client Reviews

    Cheryl and Rich were wonderful and patient with me throughout the case. All of my questions were answered. They really helped me through this tough time and made sure to let me know what was going on. I really thank Geoff…

    Troy Saxby

    My experience with GMA staff was first rate. They always represented in a professional way and made sure I had everything as far as paperwork. Kara and Theo made sure to answer all my questions, was always available and so…

    Shirley Brown

    Geoff McDonald & Associates is the team that you want on the field if you’re in need of top notch legal defense! Mr. Taj Henley demonstrated true customer service skills and his expertise made me feel comfortable throughout the…

    Julian Reeves

    Geoff McDonald & Associates: Thank you Taj Henley for all of your hard work and dedication! Very expeditious in my case and I was very satisfied with my settlement. Will recommend to all my friends and family!

    Shareema Williams

    Geoff is number one in my book and I especially appreciate the support of Mr Henley

    Ebony Conwell

    I was so pleased with the knowledge and support from Mr. Taj Henley

    Kideem Frierson

    Thank you Geoff McDonald &Associates. A special thank you to Mr. Taj Henley

    Denise Conwell

    Mr. Taj Henley displays exceptional professionalism for Geoff McDonald & Associates, along with commendable communication skills and customer service. By his work ethic and commitment to the people he serves his value to any…

    Justin Fitzgerald