They are convinced it will save lives. A father and daughter team in Calgary have developed a software they say prevents the temptation to reach for your phone while behind the wheel. David and Brooke Moir say their company, 4D Driving Technologies, was founded as a way to make change in light of tragedies they personally experienced.
“The year I graduated from high school, our community was hit hard with two accidents back-to-back — same weekend — two young boys,” Brooke said. “It is hard. You get lost in logistics of it all and it brings you back to, this is why we are doing this.”
The technology called Safe Halo disables the driver’s phone while the vehicle is in operation.
“It’s like a micro geo-fence in a car. We are dealing with a 36- to 42-inch area where the driver’s seat is and we are able to have that area cordoned off so the driver can’t use their phone in there and the passenger can,” David said.
“When my Safe Halo is engaged, I can push buttons on my phone but nothing is happening. I can’t text, can’t read texts, can’t surf social media.”
Their patented technology means the driver can’t even receive audible notifications or vibrations until the car is parked.
The technology works with a device that’s installed underneath the steering column in the onboard diagnostics of the vehicle. An app is also downloaded on a smartphone and once the car is in motion, a signal is sent to the driver’s phone rendering it inoperable, except for 911 calls.
“We are so conditioned to believe we need access to our phones at all times during the day,” Brooke said.
They hope parents will be motivated to install it in their children’s vehicles and eventually expand the marketing plan to include companies with a fleet of cars. The software has a built-in contingency if drivers attempt to enable the phone.
WATCH: (July 26, 2019) Distracted driving continues to be an issue in Saskatchewan
“We call it trust but verify. If the child decides to take the app off or throw it out the window, we call it a violation and that violation gets pinged to the authority which could be the parent the fleet manager or insurance company,” David said. “They are pinged that something has gone wrong so we are able to monitor that in real time.”
They hope to officially launch the Safe Halo before the end of the year and make it available on a subscription-type basis for about $100/year.