Official photo for Cellcontrol Courtesy of Cellcontrol

Countries around the world have PSAs alerting drivers of the dangers of texting and driving. In 2009, the U.K. released a graphic commercial that went viral. The video depicts a car full of teen girls, distracted with idle chatter and their cell phones, getting into a wreck. Warning: The video is graphic and difficult to watch, confirming what many fear about the dangers of using a cell phone and driving. But Cellcontrol, a Louisiana-based company, is out to stop that. This week at the 2014 International CES, Cellcontrol is showing DriveID, “the industry’s first and only true distracted driving solution.”

DriveID is a “non-pairing Bluetooth enabled technology” that blocks cell phone use like texting and receiving phone calls while in the vicinity of the driver. When the car is perceived as in motion, according to Cellcontrol, even speeds as slow as 1 mile per hour can be detected, the solar powered device prevents the driver from using their phone. “DriveID uses patent-pending technology to create a line down the middle of the cabin by emitting signals from the windshield mounted unit. A smartphone running the Cellcontrol app can then detect the signals and, based on their properties, determine its position within the cabin,” according to the company. Passengers, however, will still be able to place calls, text and use GPS and mapping programs among other things. The DriveID system “eliminates the temptation to talk, text, email and surf the Web while driving,” states Cellcontrol.

According to a report done by the U.S. Department of Transportation, “10 percent of fatal crashes in 2011 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.” Of the fatalities, “385 [people] died in crashes in which at least one of the drivers was using a cell phone (12% of fatalities in distraction-affected crashes) at the time of the crash.” The DriveID system seeks to reduce that number by removing the cell phone distraction.

The process is simple. “If the individual passes the device to the driver then the policy is enforced disabling the driver from being able to text, email or use the Internet,” says Rob Guba, CEO of Cellcontrol. “The account administrator (a parent or fleet manager) can set a custom policy. For example, a parent might want Johnny to be able to make calls and use navigation, but not browse or text. Similarly, the parent can 'white list' phone numbers, so Johnny can only call his mom and dad while driving. If Johnny tries to remove the device, the parent will receive a tampering notification,” Cellcontrol said. Individual policies can be set for up to six different phones, allowing parents and the like to establish specific guidelines for every driver -- and in real time. You can see the DriveID system at work on Cellcontrol’s YouTube page. The cell phone is blocked from operation while in the hands of the driver, but when passed to the passenger the phone becomes operable again.

Insurance companies are picking up on this too. Esurance, an Allstate insurance company, recently announced their DriveSafe program. “We’re continually exploring new technologies with partners such as Cellcontrol, Modus and Sprint to evaluate new features to meet the needs of our customers. Over time, these may include things such as roadside assistance, geofencing, stolen vehicle location and vehicle maintenance notifications that can help keep customers and their cars safer and more secure.”

DriveID has been honored as a 2014 CES Innovation Award Honoree.