Could Groove be the answer for distracted driving?

Could Groove be the answer for distracted driving? | Insurance Business Canada

Could Groove be the answer for distracted driving?
Distracted driving has become as bad or worse than impaired driving – but one former NASA engineer may have the solution.

The seed was planted back in 2008, when Scott Tibbitts – a chemical engineer and space entrepreneur who made motors for NASA – was scheduled to meet Dave Sueper. The meeting never happened, as Sueper was struck and killed by a distracted teenage driver who had run a red light.

Tibbits, a father of two, became obsessed with finding a way to prevent another death from distracted driving – which eventually took the form of a device called Groove.

“There has gotta be something that will fix this technically,” Tibbitts told Yahoo! Global News anchor Katie Couric, “and this feeling — it just wouldn't let go.”

Groove is a small device that plugs into a port located under the steering wheel (a port found in most cars made after 1996) connecting the car to the Internet. Once each driver of the vehicle is registered with Groove, the software figures out who the driver is and notifies the person's phone carrier, allowing it to block distractions before they reach the phone.

Once the car is turned off, Groove again notifies the carrier, and all blocked messages begin to flow through as usual.

A device such as this would be welcome by insurers, as some feel that the fines and demerits that have been introduced by the provinces targeting distracted driving don’t go far enough.

“Current legislation creates very little motivation for today’s drivers to improve their behaviour,” says Greg Shields, partner at Mitchell & Sandham in Toronto, Ont. “Large fines with the current low level of enforcement will not be a big enough deterrent to change all of the poor driving behaviours.”

Katasi is currently working with two U.S. carriers to deploy Groove next year.