Currently illegal cell phone use is difficult to determine. If a driver is using a cell phone while driving and is involved in an accident, the burden of proof is on the law officer at the site of the accident. Drivers involved in cell phone-related accidents will deny using the phone prior to the accident or drop the phone if pulled over.
Traffic safety agencies have a great deal of difficulty gathering data/metrics about illegal cell phone use. A recent field study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety required months of field study to conclude that teen drivers at 25 North Carolina high schools were ignoring the ban on handheld cell phones. This required many hours of field personnel observing the high school parking lots as students came and went.
Insurance companies are paying claims to drivers who most likely caused an accident while distracted (talking on the phone, surfing the Internet, texting) with no concrete proof that the driver was at fault.
Autolog is a cell phone detector that is integrated into a vehicle’s electronics, out of reach of the driver. It detects cell phone emission within a specified area, obtains detailed information, such as frequency, range, and action (texting, speaking, etc.), length of emission, in other words it logs all cell phone activity in the driver’s area, and “records” cell phone activity. The system uses patch antenna arrays mounted within close proximity of the driver. Autolog acts in a similar fashion to an airplane’s “black box”. In the event of an accident, law enforcement and/or insurance companies can determine, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the driver was on the phone just prior/during an accident.
A secondary use for Autolog is for the purpose of field research. Traffic studies regarding cell phone use can be conducted technologically rather than manually as is the current method of data collection.
Autolog is a device which is designed to increase vehicle safety by promoting safe usage of a vehicle thru an incentive by Insurance Companies.
By logging unsafe cell phone use, Autolog provides a monitoring service to the insurance companies.
Similar programs by the insurance companies today monitor safe driving behavior. One such program is Progressive’s “TripSense”. Another is GMAC’s monitoring service.
Both of these firms provide heavy discounts for safe driving behavior based on the monitored history of their customers. These companies currently monitor metrics such as excessive braking and acceleration as well as miles driven.
Autolog will provide a metric of the leading cause of accidents caused by driver distraction: cell phones.
Autolog is available with an integrated digital camera that visually captures the driver violating safe vehicle operation. All information, vehicle status, communication mode and video capture are available for retrieval through electronic interrogation or reporting through other network services.