Nissan signal blocker to help motorists driven to distraction by mobile phones
A car manufacturer has developed a compartment that blocks mobile phone signals.
Nissan says the prototype Signal Shield, built into the arm rest of its Juke crossover vehicle, will eliminate distractions caused by incoming calls, messages and social media notifications.
The box works on the principle of the Faraday cage - invented in the 1830s - which uses material such as a wire mesh to shield its contents from electromagnetic fields.
All mobile, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals are prevented from reaching inside the compartment once the lid is closed.
Penalties and fines for illegal phone use by drivers doubled to six points and £200 on March 1 following a series of high-profile cases and research suggesting the practice is widespread.
Nissan Motor GB managing director Alex Smith said: "Mobile phone use at the wheel is a growing concern across the automotive industry, and indeed society, particularly with the high number of pushed communications such as texts, social media notifications and app alerts that tempt drivers to reach for their devices.
"The Nissan Signal Shield concept presents one possible solution for giving drivers the choice to remove all smartphone distractions while driving. This is about delivering more control at the wheel, not less.
"Some drivers are immune to the activity of their smartphone, but for those who struggle to ignore the beeps and pings, this concept provides a simple solution in this very connected world we live in."
An RAC survey of more than 1,700 UK motorists found that the proportion who admit to using a hand-held phone behind the wheel increased from 8% in 2014 to 31% last year.
In October, lorry driver Tomasz Kroker was jailed for 10 years after killing a woman and three children by ploughing into their stationary car while distracted by his phone on the A34 near Newbury, Berkshire.
Twenty-two people were killed and 99 seriously injured in accidents on Britain's roads in 2015 where a motorist using a mobile was a contributory factor, Department for Transport figures show.
RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: "Our research shows that hand-held phone use by drivers has reached epidemic proportions.
"As mobile phone technology has advanced significantly, many people have become addicted to them. However, the use of a hand-held 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."