The concept is created to give drivers a choice about whether to eliminate the distractions caused by text messages, social media notifications and app alerts. The prototype Signal Shield has been developed and tested in the United Kingdom by Nissan GB on one of its Jukes with a view to it becoming an in-car option.
The problem is no longer just drivers texting and making phone calls while driving - incoming notifications are prompting motorists to glance at their phones too, if they're within reach.
One thing this prototype does illustrate is the need to continue working on full autonomy, which is probably the only real solution to distracted driving, especially as opportunities for distractions seem to be getting more numerous, not less.
A spokesman for the RAC commented: "The Nissan Signal Shield is a good example of a technology that can help drivers be phone smart".
The harsher punishments were introduced amid growing concerns surrounding mobile phone use behind the wheel. Countless local news stories and statistics have told us just how hazardous and ill-advised driving distracted can be, so we're not gonna beat a dead horse here. The company also found that 18 percent of drivers have texted while driving. "The Nissan Signal Shield concept presents one possible solution for giving drivers the choice to remove all smartphone distractions while driving".
While drivers could just as easily achieve the same effect by switching their phone off, the Signal Shield allows the phone to still be connected to the car's entertainment system via auxiliary and USB ports in order to listen to music or podcasts.
Nissan Nissan Motor GB managing director Alex Smith, however, is rather upbeat about the innovation. The device will maintain wired connectivity even when in the Nissan Signal Shield compartment. This is about delivering more control at the wheel, not less.
In October, lorry driver Tomasz Kroker was jailed for 10 years after killing a woman and three children by ploughing into their stationary auto while distracted by his phone on the A34 near Newbury, Berkshire.