The system, named “OrigoSafe,”requires a driver to place his or her mobile phone into a cab-mounted docking station in order for the vehicle to start. It also keeps track of every time a driver removes the phone from the docking station while the vehicle is in motion. Too many repeated attempts to use the phone while driving can initiate automatically bringing the vehicle to a full stop after a pre-established number of minutes.
Unlike mobile phone disabling systems, Origo makes use of Bluetooth technology to enable drivers to talk while driving or to listen to spoken navigation information as long as the phone remains in the cradle and its use is hands-free.
The company first introduced its solution to the problem of cell phone use while driving at the American Trucking Associations’ conference last fall. Since then, Origo has incorporated a number of new functions and features based upon the input from early users, including integrating the system with the parking brake so that drivers can use their cell phones while the engine is running as long as the parking brake is set.
Other features of the OrigoSafe commercial version include:
- An authorized driver verification function
- A “one-time use” code that can be obtained from the system administrator to start the vehicle if the system has disabled its operation
- A pin function to allow “guest drivers”,” such as maintenance technicians to operate the truck
According to Clay Skelton, Origo president, the new system costs “about the same as one truck tire,” and has a payback period of approximately four months. Installation takes about two hours. “Drivers like Origo because they still have access to communications without compromising safety,” he said.
Clay also noted that Origo already has pre-orders in house from about 12 fleets as the company prepares to begin shipping production units.