Categories: 4GMobilitySmartphones

Government Aims To Create Smartphone Signal Blocking Tech For Cars

The government is reported to be working with carmakers and mobile network firms to create a system that stops drivers from using their smartphones while behind the wheel.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed the reports to Silicon noting that the DfT is indeed considering a new technology that looks to find a way to block mobile signals in moving vehicles, thereby stopping people from taking their eyes off the road ahead to check emails, calls and texts.

However, the DfT is not yet in a position to release a statement or any further details on its plans to bring such technology into the world of transport.

Driver distraction

While crackdowns by the government on the use of mobile phones when driving have been severe, including steep fines, multiple penalty points, and even automatic bans for new drivers, the DfT still wants to push further to curtail the use of smartphones behind the wheel.

To do this the DfT is apparently looking to begin discussions with smartphone makers and mobile network providers to discuss the potential development and deployment of such a signal-blocking technology.

It will be interesting to see if such talks come to fruition, as while smartphone makers could integrate a form of ‘flight safe’ mode for smartphones while driving, it would require users to activate the function; it would be doubtful the likes of Samsung and Apple would risk enraging their customers by having such a mode forced upon them every time they entered a car.

Apple already has a history of railing against rather draconian moves made by the US government over its iPhones.

Without many more details to go on, it is difficult to see how the government will bring about such a move, as it will likely see drivers bemoan the fact that the government is increasingly interfering with their digital freedoms and developing a form of nanny state.

Furthermore, if driverless cars start to become a common means of transport, then the concerns over the driver distraction that smartphones cause will arguably be made moot, particularly when the like of Tesla are forging ahead with their autonomous driving tech.

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Roland Moore-Colyer

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

View Comments

  • I agree more needs to be done to prevent the use of mobile gadgets while driving. However, how would this latest proposal be achieved ? What about a passenger using a hand-free phone that is supported within a phone holder ?
    As for driverless cars, I have not seen nor heard anything about a decision relating to who is to be responsible for a driverless car, if it were to be involved in an accident. For a human driven vehicle, is it not the case that most countries require the driver to be insured ? How would this work for a driverless car ?

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