After successful beta testing, Origo has launched a distracted-driving-prevention device it first showed off a year ago.
OrigoSafe is a new ignition interlock system that requires drivers to secure their phone in a docking station before their vehicle can start. This prevents drivers from holding or looking at their phones to talk or text behind the wheel, but still lets them use hands-free apps such as voice navigation.
"OrigoSafe takes away the temptation to reach for the phone while driving," says Clay Skelton, Origo's founder.
The OrigoSafe unit does not directly provide a hands-free connection to the driver, but any existing hands-free devices can still be used, and the company can opt to provide a hands-free service to its drivers, or not.
Several features have been changed or added since the initial version was shown at the 2012 American Trucking Associations Management Conference & Exhibition.
For instance, explained Meg Smith, marketing strategist, "We no longer offer the feature that would shut the truck off if the phone is removed, as we definitely don't want to leave any driver stranded."
Origo comes in an enterprise edition to improve safety among commercial drivers, accompanied by OrigoCommand, an iPad-based fleet management package. OrigoCommand allows administrators to manage multiple fleets at multiple locations and restrict truck usage to an easily manageable list of authorized drivers.
The commercial system includes “Parking Brake Functionality” so the phone can be used when the parking brake is engaged. This is designed for commercial vehicles whose drivers spend considerable amounts of time idling and need the use of their phone in such situations.
The device is easily installed in any type of vehicle, and is a fully integrated device that supports the top-selling smart phone models.
Each system has an administrator, ie: a fleet or risk manager, who can configure all settings through a keypad on the OrigoSafe or with the iPad app.
Because the vehicle won’t start without an authorized phone in place, it also serves as a vehicle theft deterrent. It also charges the phone while it's in the docking station.
If the phone is removed from the docking station while the vehicle is on, an alarm will sound and the light on the unit turns red. Once the phone is put back in, the alarm stops, but the next time the driver goes to start the vehicle, they will not be authorized, and will need to call the administrator in order to be re-authorized, or obtain a one-time use code to start and use the vehicle.