Should trucks and heavy vehicles be fitted with a jammer

While cell phones have made instant communication possible for everyone, they are quickly becoming a global killer, causing 20 percent of fatal road accidents worldwide annually, half of which are recorded on Indian highways alone.
Groundbreaking new technology developed by Abdul Shabeer, PhD student at Anna University of Technology, Coimbatore, and his colleagues R.S.D. Wahidabanu and H. Abdul Zubar will disrupt cell phones that use truckers on their long-haul routes to prevent accidents.

“Truck and heavy vehicle drivers rarely keep their cell phones turned off during such journeys, but distracting the device, particularly dialing a number, making phone calls, or holding a phone while driving, can pose an immediate danger on the road, Shabeer told IANS from Chennai.

The fault system always works when the driver switches on the ignition. The signal jammer receives the radiation emitted by the phone. The device can detect whether the mobile phone is being used by the driver or the front passenger.

“Once the driver’s mobile phone usage is detected, a short-range jammer deactivates the phone without affecting other passengers’ phones. The system is powered by the vehicle,” said Shabeer, who studied computer science and engineering at Anna University, Chennai.

“Truck drivers’ braking responses often slow down when they use a mobile phone. They are statistically more likely to be involved in traffic accidents than those who leave their phones off,” said Shabeer, who previously worked with IBM India, Bangalore.

“In addition, the use of mobile phones leads to distractions that delay the reaction to traffic signs, lack of lane discipline and an accidental narrowing of the gap between your vehicle and the driver in front. All of these factors can increase the likelihood of accidents,” said Shabeer and colleagues.

“The entire system, including the jammer, would cost about 3500 rupees. Researchers plan to market this product,” added Shabeer.

India is one of the few countries to lose almost three percent of its GDP due to traffic accidents, Shabeer said.

“Although it is a generally accepted fact that India causes the most traffic accidents worldwide, it has not been investigated how many mobile phone drivers have been involved in traffic accidents. We conducted a survey of more than 2,800 drivers. The results show that 20 percent of drivers have experienced accidents worldwide due to the use of mobile phones, “said Shabeer.

Shabeeer collaborated on this project with Wahidabanu, director of the Government College of Engineering in Salem, Tamilnadu, and Zubar, a research scientist at the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Trichy. The development of the project took almost three years.

The technology can be used on all vehicles worldwide.

“Other systems that are used abroad, unlike ours, cannot tell whether the driver or front passenger uses a cell phone. Our technology is pioneering,” said Shabeer.