Everyone has heard of the Breathalyzer, the device which determines a driver’s blood-alcohol level, but new on the driver’s stage we have what is known as the “Textalyzer”, a tool invented to keep people from texting and driving. Although the invention is still in its early stages, states are beginning to adopt the new technology as a way to prevent traffic accidents and provide incriminating proof of texting while driving should an accident occur.
In 2011, New York resident Ben Lieberman lost his 19-year-old son, Evan, to a car accident. Evan was a passenger in a vehicle where the driver swerved and hit an oncoming car.
Ben Lieberman assumed that in the course of the investigation, police would automatically check the cell phone records of the driver, but he found he was mistaken. Lieberman himself obtained the records through filing a civil suit, and saw that the driver had been texting throughout the ride and near the time of the accident.
Distracted driving is said to be a factor in 3,179 deaths last year, and a recent Virginia Tech study showed 70% of crashes were caused by distracted drivers.
Bills proposed to stop, detect texting while driving
Lieberman is behind a proposed bill in the state of New York that would enable police to examine the phone records of drivers involved in serious traffic accidents. He is also advocating a bill supporting the creation of a plug-in device for phones being referred to as a “textalyzer.” The device would detect if there was texting going on at the time of the crash.
Civil liberties questioned
While the “Textalyzer” Lieberman is pushing for would be designed just to obtain the time of texts sent or received, not the content of the phones, civil liberties advocates are concerned that it would be an invasion of privacy.
Bills proposing the subpoena of phone records related to traffic accidents have failed in New Jersey and Maryland, and one in Vermont is still under question. It remains to be seen whether the proposed bills will pass in New York.
Traffic accidents and fatalities are a serious matter for all parties involved. If you have been accused of a vehicular crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you.
Rose, Joel. “New York Wants To Know: Have You Been Texting And Driving?” NPR. NPR, 27 Apr. 2016. Web. 03 May 2016.