Police radar devices could soon be able to detect more than just drivers’ speed.
A Virginia-based company says it is developing a radar gun-type device that would help roadside enforcement catch drivers as they text, the Virginian-Pilot reported recently.
According to company ComSonics, the system works by detecting and differentiating the types of radio frequencies that emit from a vehicle when someone inside is using a cellphone. As the newspaper explains:
Cable repairmen use similar means to find where a cable is damaged – from a rodent, for instance – by looking for frequencies leaking in a transmission.
A text message, phone call and data transfer emit different frequencies that can be distinguished by the device ComSonics is working on, the company says.
The radar gun would prove useful in jurisdictions where texting behind the wheel is banned, but talking hands-free on the phone is legal.
According to the report, the device is “close to production,” but the company admits there are several legislative hurdles and approvals to clear. There are also privacy concerns – some critics are worried the devices could eventually be able to decrypt the content of texts transmitted by drivers – and questions about how law enforcement could determine who is texting between drivers and another passenger in the vehicle.