How new tech could prevent distractions on the road

Considering the popularity of smartphone use, distracted driving is a major problem in California. That's why several phone providers offer free apps that can silence all incoming communications and keep users from texting when a car is in motion. However, most of these apps do not prevent all outgoing communications. New technology may be able to address this problem more thoroughly.

One device developed by the Colorado-based Katasi can be plugged into a car and link the user's phone to a cloud. Called Groove, the device allows the phone provider to block all incoming communications, including calls, messages and social media updates, as well as prevent the driver from sending such communications. All messages appear once the car is turned off. Unless customized, the device does not block navigation and music streaming.

The second device is called Drive ID. Developed by Louisiana-based Cellcontrol, it is a solar-powered technology mounted to the windshield to block messages to the driver's phone. This product is unique in that it can create separate zones for drivers and passengers. If drivers or administrators wish, the device could compile a driving performance report after each trip based on factors like speed, acceleration times and braking times.

Such devices have yet to receive wide marketing, and they depend on the driver's initiative to be effective. When drivers choose to distract themselves with their phones and cause accidents, they could be responsible for any related personal injuries. If successful in a personal injury claim, a crash victim may be reimbursed by the guilty driver's insurance company for medical bills, vehicle repair costs and other losses. A lawyer could handle the negotiations and proceed to litigation if the insurer refuses to pay out.

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