In his off time, Levitan has tinkered for three years with a possible solution: a technology that disables cellphones in moving cars. To be sure, such apps are already available, but only on a volunteer basis for individual phones. Levitan is thinking of something bigger: A mandatory system for all wireless phone users.
Levitan’s concept could gain urgency now that federal safety regulators have recommended an outright ban on all cellphone use by drivers. With more than half the states – and scores of towns and counties across the country – imposing their own bans, Levitan thinks it’s just a matter of time until a general cellphone ban gains acceptance.
Although Levitan’s system hasn’t been tested on a live phone network, the challenge isn’t going to be technological, Levitan predicted. The big issue will be customers responding with disbelief and outrage at a perceived Big Brother imposition, not unlike the early reactions to mandatory seat belt laws and mandatory motorcycle helmet laws.
“You’re taking something away that they value,” Crispin said. “It’s an internal conflict between what people want others to do and what people allow themselves to do.”
Photo by Lisa Padilla