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Antennae tracks drivers’ cell phone activity

A new antennae detects cell phone wave frequencies emitted from a truck driver’s seat, verbally warns the user to terminate the call or text and sends real-time alerts to a web portal or directly to a fleet manager. The latest addition to in-vehicle driver alert, vehicle location and diagnostic technology offerings from Salt Lake City-based inthinc Technology Solutions Inc., it enables fleet managers to enforce compliance with company, state and federal regulations, including Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration measures aimed at curtailing drivers’ non-emergency use of mobile phones while trucks are in gear or positioned in moving-traffic right of way.

Effective January 2012, an FMCSA final rule on truck drivers’ hand-held cell phone use calls for commercial carrier/employer fines up to $11,000 per violation. “The Department of Transportation has made it clear that the responsibility rests with the carriers and that written anti-cell use policies are not sufficient preventive measures,” says inthinc CEO Todd Follmer. Working with federal entities, he adds, inthinc designed the cell and text detector according to specifications recommended by the FMCSA, National Transportation Safety Board, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the DOT.

Integrated with inthinc’s comprehensive fleet management and driver safety solutions waySmart and tiwiPro, the new antennae detects cell phone waves emitted from the driver seat, warns drivers and passengers to terminate the use and reports it to the inthinc.com management portal or directly to a manager. The technology can decipher various wave frequencies including phone calls, text messages and emails. Managers may adjust the settings to either send an in-cab voice alert to drivers when a cell signal is detected, or quietly report the violation to the manager via email or text alert.

Software-based smartphone apps are also available as signal-blocking preventative measures, but may be limited to certain types of smart phones (typically BlackBerry only), or challenging to enforce from a management perspective. Developers at inthinc bill their directional antenna as a foolproof cell detection service.   — 866/294-8637; www.inthinc.com