Voluntary Solutions Don’t Work
To date, many solutions are voluntary – a person downloads an app to their phone to prevent texting while driving, or alternately takes a pledge to achieve the same goal. Texting is addictive. These solutions don’t work…the addiction is too strong. NHTSA statistics show no significant reduction in distracted driving fatalities.
Effective solutions must be mandatory – solutions that Drivers cannot bypass or avoid.
Previous Technology Solutions Don’t Work
All previous solutions described in patent applications require new phones or new cars, or both. Our Track&Warn and Masterphone solutions are different. They work with existing phones, cars, and cellular hardware infrastructure, and therefore can be implemented as soon as the necessary software is in place at the service providers.
The Track & Warn™ System
Without actually preventing texting, the Track & Warn System tracks positions of moving cell phones and determines if a user is probably driving. To do this, the Track & Warn system determines when one or more users are in the same vehicle envelope, and then warns a vehicle occupant (in a safe manner) when the following conditions occur:
(i) the vehicle occupant is determined to be a licensed driver; and
(ii) the vehicle occupant is determined to be within the envelope; and
(iii) the activity for the vehicle occupant’s cell phone falls into one of the following categories:
(a) the vehicle occupant’s cell phone is determined to be the only texting phone within the envelope; or
(b) the vehicle occupant’s cell phone is determined to be texting, and any other cell phones in the envelope that are determined to be texting belong to users with no drivers license; or
(c) the vehicle occupant’s cell phone is determined to be texting and the phones of all other licensed drivers within the envelope are determined to be texting.
In a 2-Phase approach, the Track & Warn System is a logical Phase-1. Besides warning offenders, it also establishes which drivers deserve more scrutiny if the Masterphone System is brought into play.
The Masterphone™ System
The Masterphone System uses existing service provider infrastructure to determine that a cell phone is in a moving vehicle. It also determines when two or more phones are in the same vehicle. If it only detects a single phone in a vehicle, texting is disabled for that phone until it drops below a velocity threshold for a set amount of time. If the system detects multiple phones in the same vehicle, it looks for one of the phones to be registered as a Masterphone. The Masterphone is disabled for texting, and the other phones in the vehicle are allowed to text. So, if a driver wants his passengers to text, he registers his phone – typically by a 1-button speed dial or by a voice activated call. Otherwise, no one in the vehicle can text.
Position Tracking for Phones
Our Track&Warn and Masterphone systems rely on standard GPS and Assisted-GPS technologies that are used everywhere to track the position of phones. All phones – not just smartphones – have this capability. It is there because of the laws requiring GPS for 911 emergency services.
Multiple Phones – Multiple Providers
It is common for different persons riding in the same vehicle to have different cellular service providers. The Track&Warn and Masterphone systems handle this. Positions of phones are time-stamped, and then compared so that determinations are made across multiple providers. If two phones have the same locations at the same points in time, and their movement rates track each other, then they are in the same vehicle.