HARROGATE, Tenn. — A local east Tennessee man has received a patent for an invention that he believes will save many lives in the future. Claude Chumley, of Harrogate, Tenn., received a provisional patent for his invention known as the “Safety Bubble.”
The Safety Bubble is a device that has the ability to block cell phone signals for exiting or entering the car. According to Chumley, the device emits a signal that encompasses a one meter area surrounding the driver (like a bubble). If an individual wishes to make a phone call or send a text message, the vehicle must be shut off.
Chumley said the device provides a small enough coverage area so it will not affect signals in surrounding vehicles, such as police and other emergency vehicles.
The device is wired to the ignition switch of the vehicle and installed near the driver seat of the vehicle. It includes a printed circuit board which is to be connected to the vehicle battery.
Chumley decided to invent this device because of the dangers of distracted driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 15 people are killed each day due to distracted driving. More than 1,200 people are injured in crashes that were reported to involve a distracted driver, according to the CDC.
Texting while driving, one way of distracted driving, is illegal in Kentucky. Driving while on the phone is legal, but discouraged.
Though Chumley has received a patent on his invention, the use of the device is currently being blocked by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC states cell phone blockers pose a risk to public safety by potentially preventing the transmission of emergency communications.
The FCC states jamming devices can place people in danger by preventing 911 and other emergency phone calls from being completed.
There are only a few exceptions for the manufactured sell of these devices. Manufacturers can only produce these devices for export.
Another very narrow exception for the use of these devices involve federal agencies. In some instances, these jammers can be sold for the use of authorized federal agencies.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 606-248-1010 ext. 208.