- Nissan adopts 19th-century) tech to cut phone distraction
- Car compartment blocks cell, Bluetooth, wi-fi signals
- Almost 20% of drivers admit driving and texting
LONDON, England – A Victorian-era invention has been adopted by Nissan GB which can stop drivers being tempted to use/answer a cellphone for voice or messages.
The beauty of the design, Nissan says, is its almost 200-year-old simplicity.
Boiled down, it’s a compartment in the front centre armrest of a Nissan Juke that acts as a Faraday cage , something invented back in the 1830’s by a scientist of that name. Put a mobile device in the compartment, close the lid, and a signal ‘silent zone’ will block all incoming/outgoing cell, Bluetooth andwi-fi connections.
The concept is intended to let drivers eliminate the distraction of text messages, social media notifications and app alerts that are “pushed” to smartphones.
20% ADMIT TO TEXTING
Britain’s Royal Automobile Association says the number of surveyed drivers who have admitted handling a phone while driving increased from eight to 31% through 2014 to end 2016.
Nissan research found almost one in five admitted texting while at the wheel.
All Nissan crossover vehicles have Bluetooth connectivity. NissanConnect or Apple CarPlay on the 2017 Nissan Micra allows further integration with a phone’s apps.
The Nissan Signal Shield creates a digital detox and a drive that’s free of incoming distraction.
Drivers who want to listen to music/podcasts stored on their phone can still connect to the car’s entertainment system through a USB or auxiliary port: Mr Faraday’s toy will not block wired connectivity.
Simply lifting the in-reach Faraday compartment’s lid will restore wireless connection.
A Faraday cage is an enclosure made of a conductive material – think wire mesh – which blocks electro-magnetic fields. It is named for English scientist Michael Faraday who invented it in the 1830’s.
GROWING INDUSTRY CONCERN
Alex Smith, Nissan Motor GB’s MD, told The Corner in a media release: “Nissan produces some of the safest cars but we are always looking for ways to improve. Use of a cellphone at the wheel is a growing industry concern, particularly with the deluge of ‘pushed’ communications – texts, social media, app alerts – that tempt drivers to reach for their device.
“Some drivers are immune to their cellphone; for those those who struggle to ignore the beeps and pings the shield is a simple solution.”
RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams told The Corner: “Many people have become addicted to their phone but it’s a physical and mental distraction to driving and it has been illegal (in the UK) since 2003.”
USERS CHECK AS MANY AS 85 TIMES A DAY
More than 98% of 1000 drivers polled in the US agreed that it was dangerous to text and drive but 74% admitted they had done so, 30% saying: “It’s a habit.” They also believed their driving performance was not affectged by texting.
Research by the UK’s Nottingham Trent University, however, found the average user did a phone check 85 times a day and that “rapid mobile phone interactions” (less than 30 seconds) were becoming habitual. Most did not realise they were doing it.
HALF OF DRIVERS ADMIT APP USEAGE
About half the young drivers polled admitted using online apps while driving, some several times a week, though such compulsive habits are dangerous and illegal.
Such a driver is four times more likely to crash; their reaction time is half that of a drunk driver.
Let’s hope the long-dead Mr Faraday’s invention will prevent many people from joining him prematurely.