New “Textalyzer” Device Could Help Combat Distracted Driving

Filed under: Criminal Law, News by Contributor @ June 1, 2016


The advent of smartphones and their ever-increasing capabilities has brought with it extremely high levels of distracted driving, and consequently, a higher frequency of accidents. Texting, music, and even navigation applications cause drivers to look down at their phones for significant periods of time rather than keep their eyes on the road, and this distracted driving is the cause of numerous fatalities that could have been avoided if the driver had simply been paying attention to the road.

A recent study showed that about 98 percent of adult drivers surveyed agreed that distracted driving was unsafe, yet almost half of these people admitted to texting while driving. Carmakers are attempting to improve and come up with new accident avoidance technology, yet until driverless cars become common or distracted driving becomes a criminal offense, the number of accidents caused by distracted driving will likely only increase further.

One possible solution to the problem is the “Textalyzer,” which is a device that police could use to determine whether there is cause to proceed with a criminal case. The Textalyzer, which is still under development, would be used in a manner similar to a breathalyzer in determining the fault of a particular driver involved in an accident. Upon arriving at the scene of an accident, an officer could ask for the phones of the drivers involved and use the Textalyzer to tap into the operating systems to check for recent activity. New York lawmakers are currently considering a bill which would authorize the use of of this device. Under this proposed bill, drivers will be deemed to have given implied consent to the Textalyzer test in the case of an accident, and if the driver refuses, his driving privileges could be revoked. Proponents of the Textalyzer claim that it could provide more accurate data as to the role of phone usage in car accidents, while opponents raise concerns over invasion of privacy due to the seizure of phones without warrants.

Do you think lawmakers should allow the use of the Textalyzer? Let us know in the comment section below.

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