Thu, Dec 18th 2008 1:36pm
Researchers from the University of Utah -- home of our favorite ban-yakking-while-driving research center -- have come up with a new device they say can stop teens from using their phones while driving (via Phone Scoop). The device envelops a car key, and releasing the key to operate the car activates a radio in the device, which the researchers say forces the driver's phone into "driving mode," which only allows calls to 911 and pre-approved numbers, such as the driver's parents. Like earlier, similar ideas, there are a few bugbears: we're unaware of any phone that features such a mode, and it's unclear exactly why it's okay to be distracted by a phone call to one's parents while driving, but not by calls to other people. Singling out teens, when plenty of adults talk on their phones while driving, doesn't seem totally right, but never fear: the company commercializing the technology wants to hook up with insurance companies to use the device as a tool for Big Brother-style surveillance insurance that collects all sorts of data about drivers' behavior, then using the data to calculate insurance rates. While some insurance companies have shown interest in the anti-chatting technology, consumers have shown zero interest in Big Brother insurance, likely relegating this latest idea to the dustbin.
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