Radar guns that detect texting coming soon?

Radar guns that detect texting coming soon?
ComSonics is a Virginia-based tech company that specializes in solutions for cable TV and calibration services for speed-enforcing equipment – a.k.a. radar guns. It is, apparently, about to expand its law enforcement aiding services with a first-of-its-kind device, meant to detect texting drivers.

Reportedly, a text message emits a different type of signal, than a data transfer or a phone call, and ComSonics' device will be able to identify this signal. Much like radar guns are able to detect speed-limit violations, this new contraption will be able to tell when a phone inside a moving car is sending out text messages and help law enforcement officers identify texting and driving misdemeanors.

Now, we don't know about you, but we've got a plethora of questions. First of all, in the year 2014, many smartphones come with voice-controlled assistants which send texts for you. Secondly, there are a lot of 3rd party auto SMS apps, which auto-respond to unanswered calls when the phone owner is driving. How is a responsible driver who uses one of these supposed to explain themselves?

Third, if there are two or more passengers in the vehicle – would the device be able to tell which phone was sending the text? And even then – the driver could have handed their device to the passenger next to them, so the latter could type out a text on behalf of the former, no?

Fourth, and this is our favorite one, there are now messaging apps out there, such as WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat etc. that are all very popular texting tools among young users – users, which are, coincidentally, the demographic that is most prone to misbehave, when it comes to texting and driving. Thing is, these apps use the phone's data connection, rather than the good old SMS system, so they'd still remain invisible for ComSonics' device.

All in all, this looks like it may create more problems (for responsible drivers) than it's going to solve. “Texting” in today's world could mean a mixture of different activities – from updating your Facebook status, to adding a new caption to the Instagram pic of your lunch, to sending random smilies via Viber, all of which are dangerous activities for drivers to engage in and none of which will be detected by ComSonics' “texting radar”. On the other hand, people who use Siri, Cortana, Moto Voice, Google Now, or anything else to reply to a text might be in trouble. Dare we say – welcome to 2014, ComSonics?

source: autoevolution via textually.org

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30 Comments

3. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Very difficult to apply this technology keeping that scenarios in mind. Hope this will get better in the future with more programs and more algorithms.

8. engineer-1701d unregistered

especially when you think about you can text hands free by either using your Android watch Bluetooth earpiece or driving load

11. bigcjm

Posts: 57; Member since: Jul 27, 2014

Thats the first thing that came to mind for me.you really dont have to stare at the phone to text anymore. speech to text is so much faster. maybe not so accurate but faster.

21. engineer-1701d unregistered

i dont want to start a apple android war here but i ride a bike as well so when i see a car moving around i pass them and its most of the time a girl texting on the iphone facebook and instagram and such, apple should do what others have done and disable texting with keyboard while driving, they can you gyro and gps etc. it would only allow speech input like driving mode for android. or carrier.

29. bachir8k

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

what about i am receiving a message and not sending, aren't signal waves for both cases similar?

31. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

No, when sending a text, the phone transmits a radio signal and when receiving one, the phone receives a radio signal. In the former case there's a signal being emitted by the phone, in the latter, none.

32. wkm001

Posts: 145; Member since: Feb 04, 2014

You really have no idea how RF and mobile networks work do you? The phone will acknowledge the receipt of the message on the same radio channel. Which would most likely be indistinguishable to something like a frequency analyzer. The acknowledge receipt would likely be much shorter than the actual message but would be measured in milliseconds. We are only talking about 160 characters. Lets not get started on MMS! Those use the data network, not the same side channel SMS uses.

4. McLTE

Posts: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

I'm not even sure how much of the issue is actually texting anymore. All we see are "don't text and drive" I would bet that alot of the distracted driving is done by using the phone for other things such as Facebook, surfing the web, reading.. etc.

10. bdclark

Posts: 13; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

Absolutely, there was the one woman from North Carolina who was taking selfies and posting Facebook status updates while driving. She met an unfortunate end, but thankfully no one else died. Search for Courtney Sanford and you'll see the stories about it.

22. engineer-1701d unregistered

she hit another car doing an illegal u turn in highway, the old lady 89 died courtney is looking at basically homicide charges

5. seanwhat

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

My speakers have been detecting text messages being sent and received for decades...

6. Quezdagreat

Posts: 428; Member since: Apr 05, 2012

I hope this comes soon because texting while driving is a terrible habit for people

17. rallyguy

Posts: 620; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

It's a big fail and waste of money if any agency or department buys this. I see the federal government buying these and giving them out.

7. wrm2013

Posts: 232; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

you all seem to be missing the bigger picture. it's about revenue, it's about making money. get rid of phones, eating in cars and books and alcohol. people will still die. if someone can make money and in this case government money it will be done.

23. engineer-1701d unregistered

they will be getting sued because people can prove they did not text and cops cant say you text with voice or bluetooth

9. KonaStang4.6

Posts: 285; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

That's funny, they're developing this tech where you can't even use a radar detector legally. If someone is stopped for this, it had better be "reasonable" and not violate 4th Amendment rights.

14. wrm2013

Posts: 232; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

yea because that's how police operate already. when's the last time you saw a cop behind you and thought wow I feel safe.

20. KonaStang4.6

Posts: 285; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

I always feel safe, I'm in Law Enforcement.... Not all cops are good and not all cops are bad; its the bad ones that you hear about because they do things that violate other's rights. What you don't hear about is the cop that helped someone homeless find a place to stay or food to eat. I digress...

26. seanwhat

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

of course you don't hear about the good cops, why would you? do you want the news to just report on all of the events that have happened the world over? the news is there to report unusual or interesting events, ie the bad cops. given this, the rate at which police activity is reported is alarming. Not to mention word of mouth...

12. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

I doubt that this contraption would work efficiently. The gun would have to be pointing at the car at the exact moment that the SMS is being sent. However, MMS goes through date and is indistinguishable from other data, much like SMS using chatting apps like WhatApp or Hangouts. And then there are the several cell protocols and frequencies that it'd have to support, which would raise its price quite a bit, which would translate into PDs using it a draconian way in order to pay for it. Add it to yet another tool for police abuse, right after shooting pets.

24. engineer-1701d unregistered

also it would have to be within a cretin distance because the field of view for lasers increase with distance same with temp guns and all others 50 feet gets a wide spead of 3 feet and 100 feet away gets you 2 cars, this is how the radar guns fail the system up close sure if at the correct angle.

13. Armchair_Commentator

Posts: 222; Member since: May 08, 2014

Well I'm glad they at least addressed the fact that you may have passengers texting and I really don't know how they're going to work around that one. Also Radar detectors? .. Text Radar detectors >_>

15. Chop83

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 27, 2014

Everyone missed the most obvious reason this is a horrible idea. If a passenger is texting then it's going to detect that and it will look like the driver was texting, resulting in lots of misgiven tickets

16. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Like the police care, as long as they get revenue from it.

18. rallyguy

Posts: 620; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

Another point. Even if they are able to detect only SMS traffic. It won't be able to tell if the phone is receiving or sending. So what's wrong with a phone sitting in the center console and the driver ignoring it? It will still appear to be a violation. This is a fail.

19. mike2959

Posts: 694; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

The most OBVIOUS reason is that once again government will tell you what you can do, think, work, eat, speak. Don't you touch your damn radio, don't you touch your damn phone, the knobs for the damn ac either. It's both hands on the wheel at 10 and 2, and if your right hand is at 4, you should get a citation. Oh.. And if you're talking to any passengers, well that's considered distracted driving as well. Nobody has the balls to speak up because somebody's child died. Never mind cancer, heart disease are kill 50 times more. Can't have peanut butter in school because 1 out of 100 kids have a allergic reaction. Bottom line is when the majority no longer rules, and government does, you have decay of our civilization.

25. engineer-1701d unregistered

anyone that drives with hands on 10 and 2 should be pulled from the road, they will cause a crash cross hands and heavy handed one side. 1 hand and palm turn are the only true way to go. its like the old speed limits they would put in place before car tech had all the tech in them. need updated

27. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2262; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

they should come up with something to detect alcohol too,dui is more dangerous.

28. Totse2k15

Posts: 478; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

Lulz...

30. wkm001

Posts: 145; Member since: Feb 04, 2014

The "channel" they are referring to gets used for sending and receiving. I would bet good money they can't tell the difference. So, they know if a text is coming or going from a car but not much else.

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