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A US company, called ComSonics, has developed a texting gun that they say can differentiate between calls and texts, and can accurately pinpoint exactly who in a car was responsible for using their mobile phone. The device could be used to help track down people that illegally use mobile phones while driving, and will prove especially useful in those countries and states where mobile phone usage laws are more complicated than here in the UK, where it is illegal to call or text.

Using a mobile phone to make calls or texts, or even to update social media profiles, is illegal in the UK. The offence can carry a fine of up to £1,000 as well as three penalty points added to the driver’s licence, but there has been talk of increasing the number of penalty points to six. This means that a driver that is caught twice in the space of three years could be disqualified from driving under the totting up procedure.

However, in other countries, the laws are not quite so simple and straightforward. In some parts of the US, for example, it is legal to make calls but illegal to text, and this poses an additional challenge for local police to be able to monitor mobile phone usage in cars. The texting gun could effectively resolve these difficulties and provide the police with an additional weapon to prevent drivers from becoming distracted while behind the wheel.

The company has said that the gun is able to determine the difference between data, call, and text signals, so it would prove beneficial in all countries and jurisdictions. They have also said that it is accurate enough to be able to pinpoint who, in the car, was the one responsible for using their phone, ensuring that drivers are not stopped when it was actually a passenger making the call.

The UK’s simpler mobile phone usage laws means that something like the texting gun is not likely to be introduced, although recent figures do show that people believe the police do not have the power to be able to stop mobile phone usage.