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New “Textalyzer” Device May Help Stop Distracted Drivers

Posted on - Thursday, May 26, 2016 under Car Accident New “Textalyzer” Device May Help Stop Distracted Drivers

I’ve written about the dangers and consequences of distracted driving many times. Texting and other activities that take eyes off the road and hands off the wheel lead to too many senseless and avoidable tragedies. One in four car accident in the United States involves cell phone use by a driver, according to the National Safety Council. Every day, eight people are killed and over 1,000 are injured in accidents caused by distracted driving, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Now, safety officials are turning to technology in an attempt to thwart the technology that is causing so many of these tragedies.

As recently reported in The Huffington Post and elsewhere, a new device called a “textalyzer” is being developed that would help law enforcement officials determine whether a driver was texting when an accident occurred. Lawmakers in New York have already proposed legislation that would give officers in that state the authority to carry and use such devices.

Just like a police officer would use a breathalyzer immediately after an accident to determine whether the driver was impaired (and in violation of the law), an officer would use a textalyzer at the scene to determine whether the driver was distracted by their cell phone (in violation of the law).

The device would tap into the driver’s cell phone operating system to determine what if any activity – such as texting, emailing, surfing the web – was occurring immediately before the crash. The proposed New York legislation would also provide that a refusal to let the officer inspect a driver’s phone would result in an automatic license suspension, as is the case for refusing a breathalyzer test in that state.

It remains to be seen whether textalyzers will become as ubiquitous among police departments as breathalyzers are. But any efforts to combat the scourge of distracted driving should be encouraged and applauded.

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