Vid US telco AT&T is urging staff and customers to pledge never to text and drive - and is willing to rat on teenagers that break that promise.
Those who vow never to juggle text messages and the control of a moving vehicle won't get a silver ring to wear, but they can share their pledge on Facebook and dedicate it in the memory of anyone killed by a texting driver. In the supporting video, see below, AT&T suggests parents might like to take technical measures to ensure their kids' don't weaken.
The demonstrated tech provides parents with a real-time facsimile of their teenager's car dashboard, so they can see the current speed and fuel level, and the inevitable Google Maps mashup. SMS alerts can be set up for those who don’t want to spy on their kids all the time.
Once they've established that their child is trying to make a call or send a message while attempting to steer their way down a road, the parents can remotely disable the phone or just stop it sending text messages. The handset will continue to report on how aggressively the car is being driven and plots graphs to show if their progeny's skills are improving (as indicated by their calm driving and not using the handbrake to drift the back end into the corner).
Fortunately parents are already being relieved of such onerous duties by insurance companies, who offer cheaper insurance in exchange for computer-monitored driving in a business model which will surely become the default within a decade.
But that won't stop drivers sending text messages from behind the wheel, which is why AT&T has designed a funky web site, set up a Twitter hashtag and is counting down to 9 September when it hopes to have everyone signed up. ®