Can't stop phoning while driving? This WILL stop you...

A team of clever people have invented an in-car device that will detect if you're on the phone while driving and shut the handset down. The system works out the position of the phone within the car, and if it's near the steering wheel it's Facebook session over, sunshine. We like this.

The anti-distracted driving application has been co-developed by the Stevens Institute of Technology and Rutgers research university in New Jersey, USA.
Mobile phone companies in America already offer technology that shuts down a phone if the user is on the go, but they do so only by sensing when the phone is in motion using its GPS function.

The obvious drawback is that this sort of system will disable a handset while the user is on a bus, or sitting in the passenger seat of a car; irritating for other people, but not illegal.

This new application is different. Using a car's Bluetooth tech and speakers, it measures where within the car a talker is by calculating the distance he or she is from the front speakers relative to each other. In other words, if the user is closer to the speaker near the steering wheel, the phone will detect that and shut the handset down.

At the same time, non-drivers in the car will merrily be able to phone, text and tweet away.

The tech currently works with around 95 percent accuracy - although for the sake of safety, we'd suggest, it's no great sacrifice to have it turn off the passenger's phone too, once in a while.

The technology comes as the result of ever-tougher legislation in the US regarding mobile handset use while driving. In the UK, phoning or texting while behind the wheel is illegal, full stop, but some US states still allow it, which has led to confusion about the law for some American drivers.

The anti-distracted technology is still being developed to achieve greater accuracy, but it's thought that it will eventually be picked up by a major car manufacturer or mobile phone company.

When that happens, it's only a matter of time before we get it in the UK.
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