A DEVICE which blocks mobile phone signals in cars is to go on sale in Scotland.
The CU80, sold by a Fife-based company, could spell the end for children chatting on mobiles in their parents’ cars and employees using phones in company vehicles.
Motoring entrepreneurs Eddie Eusebi and Alan Gibbons have the licence to sell the £150 ‘black box’ across Europe, and hope it will reduce deaths on the road.
With recent research showing browsing the internet can be more distracting than drink driving, the pair point out it can be used to block the use of social networking sites.
Mr Eusebi, who co-founded CU80, said: “Virtually every mobile phone can go online and the sad fact is that many drivers are checking their Facebook status and Twitter news-feeds as they drive and are putting lives at risk as they do so.
“The law forbidding driving while using a mobile phone device is widely flouted. A quarter of British drivers, as many as eight million, use their phone while on the move either with a hands free kit or by holding their mobile.
“The CU80 device can block as much or as little activity as required, from simply stopping a driver making or receiving calls from their mobile phone to blocking an MP3 player or surfing the internet on a tablet computer.”
The device works by Bluetooth to block any text message or phone calls. It prevents any use of mobile phones when the vehicle is in motion, though can be adjusted via a website.
The CU80 is named after the offence code for drivers caught using mobile phones.
It was developed by US company OBD Edge, and the pair hope it will sell well to businesses with fleets in the UK.
Director Alan said he wanted to change drivers’ habits.
He said: “We want drivers to think again about their driving habits.
“Many motorists can’t resist the urge to check their phone or make a call when they know they shouldn’t.
“Even hands-free mobile phone conversations are dangerous as talking to someone who is not in the car require greater conversation to make up for the lack of visual cues.
“The CU80 takes the temptation away and ensures that drivers have their hands on the wheel and their eyes and minds firmly on the road.
“The reality is that many people see using a mobile device while driving as an acceptable practice.
“What we want to do is make using a mobile device as socially unacceptable as drink driving.”
Recent research from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) found using social media on a smartphone slowed reaction times more than alcohol, cannabis and texting.