According to a recent study by the American Automobile Association, seven out of ten drivers admit to text messaging while driving. Combine that with a study by Virginia Tech, which concluded that texting drivers are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in an accident, and you begin to see how big of a problem it is. ORIGOSafe is one of the latest products designed to stop texting-and-driving – it won’t let your car start unless your phone is plugged into the device.
As it’s doubtful (but not impossible) that many drivers would buy an ORIGOSafe to stop themselves from texting, the device is being marketed more as something that parents could use to keep their adolescent kids from doing so, or that fleet managers could use with their drivers.
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The device is installed in the vehicle’s center console, and looks vaguely like an in-dash 8-track tape player. In order to enable the car’s ignition, drivers must first insert their phone in the ORIGOSafe. As they drive, it charges their phone, and allows them to make and receive phone calls via Bluetooth – although even carrying on hands-free phone conversations while driving has still been shown to be hazardous.
One question does arise, though ... what if the driver doesn’t have their phone with them? If it’s teens we’re talking about, presumably such a scenario is considered to be highly unlikely.
Although the phone can physically be removed once driving is underway, doing so will cause an alarm to sound, plus it will result in that particular user subsequently being unable to start the car – even with their phone plugged into the device. Only that particular device’s system administrator (such as a parent or fleet manager) will be able to unlock it for that user.
The device will allow the phone to be removed while the parking brake is on, allowing for text messaging while the engine is running but the vehicle is stopped.
As mentioned, other products have taken their own approaches to thwarting texting drivers. TXTBlocker and cellCONTROL, for instance, simply block text message signals within the car. Textecution, on the other hand, is an app that disables texting functionality if the phone’s accelerometer detects that the vehicle is moving.
ORIGOSafe is now available for preorder, and is priced at US$279 plus installation. It can be seen in use in the video below.