Device Aims To Stop Calls While Driving

A motorist talks on a cell phone while driving in downtown Cleveland.
A motorist talks on a cell phone while driving Thursday, May 18, 2006 in downtown Cleveland. A bill in the Ohio Legislature would increase criminal penalties when cell phone use causes a car crash. More states are starting to look at similar alternatives to curb in-car calls since bans on phoning while driving have largely failed.(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato

Dave Teater says his son, Joe, could really light up a room.

"He was always happy, always smiling - I never remember Joe being angry with anybody," Teater said. "He loved life."

Four years ago, 12-year-old Joe was killed by a woman distracted while on her cell phone. She ran a red light and plowed into the Teaters' car.

"You never get over it," he said.

His wife, Judy, survived.

Teater closed his automotive consulting business to take up a cause - warning others, CBS News science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg reports.

"I don't think people ought to use a cell phone when they're driving, period," he said.

Now, Teater wants drivers to go the extra mile - with some new technology for cell phones and texting devices.

"The software periodically checks using various sensors that are already in the phone, like GPS and wi-fi," he explains.

He's joined a company that created "Drive Assist," software downloaded to a hand-held device. If GPS detects driving motion, a signal is sent to the wireless provider, which disables outgoing calls, except to 9-1-1, and diverts incoming calls to a custom voice mail.

"The person you called appears to be driving," it says.

Maybe you think going "hands-free" is safe enough. Think again. New research shows whether or not drivers are actually holding the phone, they are just as distracted by the conversation itself - sometimes as impaired as if they were legally drunk.

"I just wish they knew what I knew," Teater said.

Drive Assist, available early next year, will cost between $10 and $20 a month. Nationwide Insurance has already announced people who use it will save money on their policies.

Teater is convinced it will save much more than that.

Nothing will ever make up for the loss of Joe. But it'll add some meaning to it. And that is helpful.