In the last two years, mobile phone use among British drivers has increased from eight to 31 per cent, according to the RAC.
With stricter penalties being imposed for handling a phone while behind the wheel, British drivers are now more likely to be caught if they decide to pick up their device.
Japanese car-maker Nissan has come up with a new concept that could drastically reduce the rate of illegal phone use on our roads, and save Brits from being slammed with hefty fines.
Introducing the Nissan Signal Shield.
Built into the armrest of the Nissan Juke, the prototype compartment is lined with a metal Faraday cage, which blocks any incoming or outgoing signals, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections, when the lid is closed.
It is essentially an isolation prison cell for your mobile friend.
Nissan said the concept is designed to provide drivers with the option of eliminating the constant distraction of notifications buzzing through.
While drivers could just as easily achieve the same effect by switching their phone off, the Signal Shield allows the phone to still be connected to the car’s entertainment system via auxiliary and USB ports in order to listen to music or podcasts.
RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams praised the Nissan prototype in helping drivers avoid the temptation of touching their phone while driving.
“Our research shows that handheld phone use by drivers has reached epidemic proportions,” Williams said.
“As mobile phone technology has advanced significantly many people have become addicted to them.
“However, the use of a handheld phone when driving represents both a physical and mental distraction and it has been illegal since 2003.
“The Nissan Signal Shield is a good example of a technology that can help drivers be phone smart.
“For those who can’t avoid the temptation, this simple but pretty clever tech gives them a valuable mobile-free zone.”
The innovation uses the simple principle of the Faraday cage – a device invented in the 1830s by English scientist Michael Faraday.
A small enclosure made of conductive metal blocks electromagnetic fields, or in this case, cellular signals.
With almost one in five drivers admitting to illegally texting while behind the wheel, Nissan is likely to introduce the concept into new model Juke’s in the near future.