ATLANTA—NexTraq L.L.C., a Michelin company focused on telematics solutions, has developed a digital tool that disables drivers' smartphones and tablet screens while their vehicle is in motion.
The new tool—dubbed "MobileBlock"—was developed in partnership with SafeDrivePod International B.V., Michelin said, and is designed to help managers enforce company policies restricting unauthorized use of company-issued tablets and smartphones, thus limiting distractions.
"NexTraq's MobileBlock helps to stop smartphone-based distractions behind the wheel," said Todd Hanna, NexTraq vice president of sales. "In many states and municipalities, using smartphones and tablets while driving is against the law. It can be dangerous. MobileBlock is a solution that can keep the driver and crew safe while at work."
Available in the U.S. and Canada, MobileBlock is a self-adhering pod that is mounted in the vehicle. An app is downloaded from the App Store or Google Play to the tablets or smartphones used by drivers of the vehicle. The software shuts off all access to apps while driving. Emergency call and navigations apps still are usable with the tool installed.
Michelin acquired Atlanta-based NexTraq, a provider of vehicle and asset tracking solutions, in 2017.
Oosterbeek, Netherlands-based SafeDriver Pod was founded in 2016 by Paul Hendriks, a veteran of the commercial transportation industry, and Erik Damen, a physicist and inventorMichelin's NexTraq unit launches digital safe-driving tool.