Key 2 Safe Driving
Reported December 2009
SOUTH JORDAN, Utah (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- You've probably done it or been tempted to do it -- text and drive or talk on the phone and drive. That type of distracted driving causes half a million accidents and kills more than 2,600 people in this country every year. But soon, a $50 device will make it just about impossible to text and drive.
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Reggie Shaw wants to teach English and coach basketball. He's a normal college student, except for one thing. In 2006, Shaw was driving and texting. He drifted across the road and hit a car head on.
"That car then spun behind me and was hit by another car, and two men were killed on impact," Shaw said.
The 19-year-old was convicted of negligent homicide and went to jail. Now, his message to teenagers is texting and driving can kill.
"I thought it was something I could do, it'd be ok, that it was safe," Shaw said. "One text message changed my life and took two people's lives."
A Key2SafeDriving system would have made Shaw's mistake impossible. Developed by civil engineers at the University of Utah, the two-part system blocks texts and phone calls if the car is running.
"When it's in safe driving mode, phone calls are allowed to come in, but they immediately go to voicemail, and texts come in, but they're cued up and you're not made aware that either of those are coming in," Mike Fahnert, CEO of Safe Driving Systems in South Jordan, Utah, told Ivanhoe.
The device encloses the car's key and connects wirelessly to the driver's phone using Bluetooth. Once the key is in the ignition, the device sends a signal to the phone putting it in "driving mode." All texts and calls are held until the car is turned off. In case of emergencies, drivers can call 911.
Shaw thinks Key2SafeDriving may have changed his life.
"I look back and, who knows? If I had the device like that, it'd save people's lives and changed my life," he said.
He says the $50 system is priceless, if it keeps people from texting and driving.
You can reserve a Key2SafeDriving now at www.safedrivingsystems.com. Right now, the current version is compatible with Windows phones, but Safe Driving Systems says other phones will be available soon. Another perk -- insurance companies that have heard about this system are already talking about premium cuts of 7 to 20 percent.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.-USA, and the American Society of Civil Engineers contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.
Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:
University of Utah
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
The American Society of Civil Engineers
Reston, VA 20191-4400
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Santa Monica, CA 90406
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