Nissan has designed a prototype smartphone vault for the armrest of its Juke crossover car, which uses a Faraday cage to block all signals to the phone (yep, even Bluetooth and WiFi).
The Signal Shield compartment is designed to stop you being distracted while driving. You drop your phone into it and focus on the road, the theory goes, because it can't ring or ping or otherwise impinge on your concentration.
It was created as a result of a growing problem with people texting, calling, Snapping and sharing dog memes while they're supposed to be concentrating – nearly one in five admit to having texted while driving, and that's only the ones who own up.
Alex Smith, Managing Director of Nissan Motor GB explains:
"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."
RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams adds:
"Our research shows that handheld 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 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."
However, while we applaud the sentiment, the obvious problem with the Signal Shield is that it requires a) intelligence and b) self-control, neither of which someone has if they're daft enough to endanger themselves and everyone else on the road by texting and driving.
Still, for the kinds of people who won't have chocolate in the house because they'll eat it, the Signal Shield might just work. Of course, you could just put your phone on aeroplane mode, which is possible in any car, but it's nice to see a big brand taking a stand against the thing that makes cars most dangerous to people: people.