New York lawmakers have proposed to give police officers a new device called a Textalyzer to help reduce the high number of distracted driving accidents that result in serious injuries and fatalities. In Chicago, a car accident attorney commonly sees distracted driving accidents caused by young drivers between the ages of 18 and 30.
What is the Textalyzer?
The Textalyzer is a digital device that’s equivalent to the Breathalyzer, a device used to check a driver’s blood alcohol level during a sobriety test. The Textalyzer would allow police officers to check a driver’s cell phone usage if the driver is involved in a car accident.
Currently, if an accident occurs, New York police must rely on drivers’ or witnesses’ statements related to cell phone use. If those facts are disputed, the officer must subpoena cell phone records, a time-consuming and costly process. To date, cell phone records can only detect calls and texts. Internet-based activity like social networking and music and video activity can’t be detected. If a driver willingly turns over his/her cell phone to police, there are privacy concerns related to reviewing someone’s personal device.
With the Textalyzer device, police would be able to tap into a driver’s cell phone operating system to check for recent activity. The technology could reveal recent activity including texts, emails, social media use like Snapchat and Facebook, and other cell phone activity that is currently banned under hands-free driving laws in New York. Lawmakers believe that the Textalyzer can significantly reduce and possibly eliminate distracted driving accidents and personal injuries commonly represented by a car accident attorney.
Distracted Driving Accidents
Over the last seven years, most states have banned texting while driving. Currently, 46 states along with the District of Columbia, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico have laws that ban texting while driving. Fourteen states, as well the the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico, make it a crime to use a hand-held device in any way while driving.
Although laws exist that ban texting while driving, and public service campaigns constantly promote safety concerns, car accidents cause by distracted drivers have increased over the last few years. Reports show that many Americans still admit to texting while driving, as well as using social media sites and taking selfies, despite current laws. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving accidents and injuries increased by eight percent in 2015.