Feeds

Roadside PDA test targets drug-crazed UK drivers

Would you mind drawing on the screen, sir?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

There seems to be no end this week to the fascinating and socially-useful new applications for the humble PDA.

No sooner had we got wind of a terrific brain-tickling PDA peripheral than word came down the wire that UK police may in the future use PDAs to test drivers for drug use.

According to a New Scientist report, the so-called "impairment detector" is currently under test at the Police Scientific Development Branch in St Albans. The PDA programme is specifically designed to combat the increasing incidence of drug use while behind the wheel.

It's all pretty simple, really. Suspects are subjected to two tests designed to "assess three critical driving skills: motor control, ability to react to the unexpected, and concentration levels".

What this means is that your drug-fuelled boy racer has to follow an object across the screen with a stylus while keeping an eye out for other objects popping up at which point he must press a button.

The second challenge involves road signs flashing onto the screen to which the driver must respond except, that is, for a "target sign", to which they must not respond.

Both these cunning tests were developed at the University of Surrey, where, if other UK universities are anything to go by, they should know a thing or two about substance abuse.

Meanwhile, it remains to been seen what the practical/legal implications are for this drugs-busting PDA application. According to New Scientist, a Home Office spokesman says "it is too early to comment on how such a device would be used or whether the results it produces would be admissible as evidence in court".

Quite so. And to further reassure drivers who might be led to believe that a new police terror campaign against UK motorists might be in the offing, the impairment detector will not be in service for at least two years - even if tests prove successful. ®

Related Products
Check out the Pocket PCs in The Reg mobile store

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Holy vintage vehicles! Earliest known official Batmobile goes on sale
Riddle me this: are you prepared to pay US$180k?
Bible THUMP: Good Book beats Darwin to most influential tome title
Folio Society crowns fittest of surviving volumes
'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?
Plus: Flame of the Week returns, for one night only!
U wot? Silicon Roundabout set to become Silicon U-BEND
Crap-spouting London upstarts to get permanent road closure
Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG
Stick it on the steering wheel and wait for the airbag to fire
NEWSFLASH: It's time to ditch dullard Facebook chums
Everything hot in tech, courtesy of avian anchor Regina Eggbert
'It is comforting to know where your data centres are.' UK.GOV does NOT
Plus: Anons are 'wannabes', KKK says, before being pwned
Criticism of Uber's journo-Data Analytics plan is an Attack on DIGITAL FREEDOM
First they came for Emil – and I'm damn well SPEAKING OUT
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.