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New tech to keep smartphones from distracting drivers

Of the many drivers in Wisconsin and elsewhere who distract themselves with their smartphone, some wish for new technology that can save them from themselves, so to speak. It may seem ironic, but there are devices out there to solve the problem that was caused by technology in the first place. One company has developed a device that plugs into the car and links the driver's phone to its service provider via a cloud. The service provider can block all communications once the user is driving.

The device is called Groove and can virtually put the phone on "airplane mode." It does not merely silence messages, and it prevents not only texting but also all accessing of social media networks. Callers and senders are notified that the recipient is driving. Groove allows for navigation and music streaming, but these can be blocked as well after a simple customization.

A second device, called Drive ID, can do more. Even better, it is currently available for $129, whereas Groove is still in its pilot phase. Drive ID can block all communications and access to video games, but it will block only the driver's phone. By creating separate zones for driver and passenger, and it leaves the latter's phone untouched. In addition, it can track driver performance and create reports after every trip.

In the event that a distracted driver causes a motor vehicle accident, the victim can exercise his or her right to compensation under personal injury law. This will mean proving that the defendant was guilty and that the plaintiff is either innocent or was only partially to blame. A lawyer might be able to come in and evaluate the claim, factoring in contributory negligence and estimating a fair amount for the settlement. The lawyer may then negotiate with the auto insurance company for this amount.

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