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New device will literally prevent truckers from using cell phones while behind the wheel

Written by Steve Gursten Posted January 28th, 2014

Origo Safe aims to reduce truck accidents caused by texting and cell phones by preventing trucks  from starting

ORIGO

It’s no secret cell phones are causing horrific truck accidents.  Our own Roundtable attorneys recently discussed the case Michael Leizerman is litigating in Arizona involving the crash which left a police officer dead after a truck driver who was using Facebook on his cell phone barreled into a line of emergency vehicles responding to a highway accident.  We’ve also discussed my own case, where a truck driver dropped his cell phone, and when he bent down to pick it up, his truck collided into a car with such force that it sheared the car in two – causing the driver to lose both his legs in a gruesome, traumatic amputation.

As you can see from the pages of this truck attorneys blog, these are not isolated incidents. Truckers who use cell phones and other devices while driving are injuring and killing  people all across the country.

Yes, it is against the law.

No, that is not stopping them.

But there may be a better solution soon.

The solution does not come from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), nor from any other body of law. There are plenty of laws in place which prohibit truck drivers from using cell phones while operating a large semi-truck. Unfortunately, rules are frequently broken.

This solution comes from a small tech start-up based in Virginia called Origo. It  launched in March with a great new concept: to have an ignition interlock system that prevents manual texting while driving.

The company developed the “OrigoSafe.”  The aim was to prevent cellphone-addicted drivers — including truckers or other commercial drivers — from picking up their phones to check e-mail, browse the web or text.

The first device of its kind, it draws inspiration from Breathalyzer locks in automobiles. Similarly, a dock is mounted within the cab of a semi-truck, or other vehicle, and will not operate until a cellular phone is mounted within the dock. Once mounted, the cellular device will only function using Bluetooth.

To date, about 2,000 devices have been sold since they hit the assembly line in May. The majority of the units have been sold to trucking companies for use within their fleet.

The devices retail for $399, including installation, at Audiotronics.

As an  attorney who fights on behalf of people who have been seriously hurt or killed in semi-truck accidents, I think this is a great solution.  It could successfully stop  dangerous drivers who continue to still use cellular phones while driving.

This is something that hopefully in a few short years should be in the cab of every truck in America.

Steve Gursten

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Litigation Group. Steve has been named a Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. He was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case, as well as for recovering the top auto and truck verdict in four of the past eight years. He is a "Top 100 Super Lawyer," is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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