Las Vegas. A Virginia-based company called Origo (Latin for “to begin a journey”) has introduced a new solution for eliminating texting and hand-held mobile phone usage while driving. The unveiling took place here yesterday at the annual American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference and Exhibition.

The system, also named “Origo,” requires the 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.

“Commercial fleet owners have tried training, applications, tracking devices and other solutions, but these have not been enough to make commercial driving safer," noted Clay Skelton, Origo inventor and company president,   "By taking the phone out of the driver’s hands, but not preventing a driver from being connected, Origo can [help to] significantly reduce accidents and increase safety in commercial fleets, enhance driver performance, [help to] safeguard the fleet and reduce insurance costs."

The patent-pending OrigoSafe Commercial version of the system comes with a module called OrigoCommand that is an enterprise-level, iPad-based, fleet management package, said Skelton. The package is designed to give the administrator the ability to add or delete phones and users from the system, create teams of drivers and view reports. A centralized database is designed to let the administrator manage multiple fleets at multiple locations.

Skelton noted that the system is still in testing with a commercial fleet, but “it should not be long” before it is commercially available. The cost is expected to be “about the same as one truck tire,” he said.