The next time you drive down the highway, the police may be aiming a new gun at you -- one that can tell if you are texting while driving. Commsonics hopes that its device, which is similar to a radar gun, can help police stop people from texting and driving.
The gun distinguishes the unique signal from sending and receiving texts from other background signals. This would allow police to meet their ticket quota... er... keep the roads safe with a simple device. Presumably, it could even be combined with a traditional radar gun to put the bite on you twice... er... save you from your own poor choices.
Next, the company will develop a gun that checks to make sure you are wearing your seat belt -- or that you're not getting too much of a groove on to your favorite jam, daydreaming about winning the lottery and quitting your job, or looking for the french fry you dropped behind the seat.
[Apple patent takes on dangerous distractions. Read Apple Transparent Texting: Faceplant Prevention?]
Let's face it, banning this gun would be the only gun control even the NRA would support. Everyone will hate this. Texting and driving is one of those things that everyone knows is stupid and does anyway... like watching NCIS or going to casinos... or voting for president. According to a recent poll, 94% of Americans say sending a text while driving is dangerous, and 91% say reading texts is dangerous. Yet 45% admit to reading texts, and the other 55 percent lie. We all do it, just as no one drives the speed limit unless they are behind a truck going up a hill.
The good news is that Commsonics still needs to test the guns with law enforcement to see how much money the things will make the state... er... to make sure they work reliably. It raises some questions for me:
- My phone pulls texts whether I'm reading them or not. How will they account for incoming texts I'm not reading?
- Given how quick the signal for a text is, how often will these guns actually find people texting and driving? Won't you have to be driving by and texting in just the split second the gun is pointed at you? That seems unlikely. People speed for miles and miles. They text for seconds intermittently.
- If this works, wouldn't it be easier for all of us to just write a check directly to Commsonics and the state?
It's easy to make light of this, but texting and driving is a very real problem. The National Safety Council believes 1.3 million crashes are caused by texting and driving each year. If that's not convincing enough for you, maybe this video will help:
What do you think? Are you scared of the texting gun? Do you text and drive? (Be honest!) Should states use them? Tell us in the comments.
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