In a worldwide first, a clever gadget aiming to stop gronks and dunderheads from texting while driving—known as Groove—may find its debut launch in Australia, as American inventor Scott Tibbitts is currently in talks with Australian telcos to bring the device down under, according to the ABC.
Groove, a palm-sized device that can be fitted under the driving wheels of most cars manufactured after 1996, connects to the internet when a car’s engine is turned on, and can block all text message and phone call signals – holding the notifications until the engine is switched off. Certain phone functions, such as GPS signals and music players, can be enabled through settings.
Undeniably nifty stuff. But also undeniably depressing that such measures might be necessary – when chucking your phone in the back seat (or fanging it on to aeroplane mode) already does the exact same job with half the hassle.
An Australian Government survey, conducted in 2011, revealed some pretty grim statistics on drivers’ tendencies to pick up their phones while driving.
- Australian drivers who own a mobile phone: 93%
- Australian divers who admit to using their phone while driving: 59%
- Of the Australian drivers who use their phone while driving, those who do so with a handsfree kit: 28%
And in February last year, phone use overtook not wearing seat belts as a cause for fatal car accidents in NSW, according to Drive, despite talking on mobile phones—not within a handsfree cradle—being illegal on NSW roads since November 2012.
Rolling out Groove in Australia this year could be a reality, according to Scott Tibbitts: “If things were to go as we hope, it’s possible we’d have a product that deploys here before the end of the year.” Telstra and Optus are reportedly in talks over the proposal.
But if you’re reading all this, and know full well that even a gadget like Groove wouldn’t stop you from occasionally using your phone while driving—and you truly are on the Drongo spectrum of human beings—go ahead and watch Werner Herzog’s harrowing documentary on the topic below.
And if that doesn’t manage to penetrate a single one of your feels one bit – do everyone else a favour and stick the hell to PT.
And, PSA: on the [admittedly grim] topic of road accidents, but while we’re here – sign-ups to the Australian Organ Donation Register can no longer be made while receiving or renewing your driver’s license. So those wishing to sign up can do so here.