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CES 2012: Scosche CellControl can help stop texting while driving

Consumer Reports News: January 13, 2012 11:53 AM

At the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Scosche introduced CellControl, a product that combines hardware and software to make driving safer by restricting cell phone operation.

CellControl includes a module that plugs into a vehicle’s OBD-II port, a common connector that is on every car built after 1996. A smartphone app reads the vehicle speed information from the port over a Bluetooth connection, disabling the screen when the vehicle is moving to prevent texting or entering phone numbers on the go. Calls can still be made using a Bluetooth device.

Scosche notes that CellControl is compatible with Android, Blackberry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile 5 and 6 devices. A device like this without support for iPhone is disappointing, and it is puzzling that a “new” product would be compatible with Windows Mobile, a dead operating system that Microsoft doesn’t even support. It appears that the Scosche CellControl is actually a repackaged version of another device that has been on sale for years.

In the household technology arms race, a teenager will always outgun their parents, but Scosche assures in the product literature that CellControl is tamper resistant and will email the parents if the device is disabled. After the software is installed on the mobile device, it prevents the user from completely disabling the Bluetooth connection. Being wirelessly tied to the OBD-II transmitter, it is clear that this system would not interfere with texting, web browsing, and other mobile phone functions when riding a bus or train, as is the concern with some other motion-based safety applications.

CellControl retails for $125 and is designed for parents, fleet mangers, or people who just have poor self control.

See our special section on distracted driving.

Jake Fisher

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