A radar device currently being development by Virginia company ComSonics could allow law enforcement to better track drivers who text and talk while driving, and to better enforce distracted driving laws. As readers know, distracted driving has become a major cause of highway traffic accidents, and many believe technological solutions are key to battling the problem since studies have shown that drivers, by and large, don’t regulate their own behavior well in this area.
The technology works by distinguishing between radio frequencies for texts, voice and data communications coming from mobile devices. The technology used to develop the radar gun is the same as that used by the company to locate shorts in cable wiring.
One of the hurdles facing the campy with respect to the technology is privacy concerns, though it isn’t clear what the specific issues are since the device cannot actually decrypt cellular device communications. Officers wouldn’t actually be able to read or listen in on conversations; they would just know whether or not the device was in operating mode.
If the privacy hurdles could be overcome, it could mean that law enforcement officers attempting to enforce distracted driving laws could have an easier time determining whether a driver was actually using their phone. As it is, officers have difficulties enforcing these laws due to the challenges in obtaining adequate evidence that the driver was violating the law.
Those who are harmed by distracted drivers could potentially benefit from the devices in that it would be possible to present strong evidence to a court of law that a driver was in fact using their mobile device at the time of an accident. We’ll have to wait and see how this technology develops and whether it becomes widely adopted, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.
Source: Tech Times, “Police radar device targets speeding and texting while driving,” Quinten Plummer, September 17, 2014.