Scientists have developed a system that can shut down the cell phone of drivers to stop them from using it when they are behind the wheel, without affecting other people in the vehicle.
The system, created by a team of researchers at the Stevens Institute of Technology and Rutgers in New Jersey, utilises a phone's Bluetooth connection and a vehicle's speakers to detect if the driver is using their mobile phone while driving, the Daily Mail reported.
According to CNET, the system measures the acoustic signals emitted from the stereo and the proximity of the phone to the Bluetooth receiver, essentially pinging both systems to determine where the phone is being operated.
By measuring the phone's distance between the speakers, the phone can estimate its distance from the car's centre, and determine more than 95 percent of the time if the phone is in the possession of the driver or a passenger.
Once the ownership is determined, the phone can decide if it needs to lock down its services.
The system created by a team led by doctors Chen Stevens, Marco Gruteser and Richard Martinis is designed to allow passengers to use their phones while the vehicle is in motion.
However, problems to overcome include the amount of road, wind and background noise interfering with the acoustic signals and a general lack of Bluetooth connectivity in most vehicles.