The Textalyzer for Distracted Drivers – Texting Motorists Could be Tested

We’ve all heard of the Breathalyzer for DUI drivers but people tempted to pick up their smartphones while they are driving should beware. A technology company is developing the textalyzer for distracted drivers.

A report on NPR highlighted how so-called “textalyzer” technology is modeled after the Breathalyzer that has been used for decades to find out of drivers are drunk at the wheel.

The textalyzer for distracted drivers would determine if you were illegally using your phone at the wheel.

Police across the U.S fear too many drivers are causing injuries and deaths by texting while driving. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and we have highlighted how the problem is worse in the southern states in our injury blog.

Textalyzer for distracted drivers may be developed

Would the textalyzer prevent distracted driving

NPR reported on how lawmakers in New York and some other U.S. cities and states are looking into the use of the new device to crack into phones.

States like Virginia have laws that prohibit texting at the wheel but it’s tough to enforce partly because talking on a cell phone while driving is legal in Virginia as long as you are not driving a commercial vehicle.

Ben Lieberman from New York who lost his 19-year-old son in a car crash six years ago, described getting a driver’s phone records as an agonizing process. His son was hit by a driver who drifted over a center line. The NPR reports said the driver had been texting.

Lieberman was forced to file a civil lawsuit to subpoena the phone records of the at-fault driver. Even then, the record did not detect certain distractions other than texting like browsing the internet or social media at the wheel.

How the Textalyzer for Distracted Drivers Would Work

Liberman has co-founded an advocacy group and a company called Cellebrite to develop the textalyzer for distracted drivers.

The technology would be able to find out whether a driver illegally was using a mobile device in the moments before a car crash.

It may sound futuristic, but an engineer from the company, Lee Papathanasiou, successfully demonstrated the device to lawmakers in Albany, New York this week.

The engineer showed how police would simply connect the device to a driver’s phone. The driver doesn’t even have to hand over the device.

Papathanasiou said:

“They can simply just tap one button ... and it will process, about 90 seconds or so, and it will show what the last activities were — again that could be a text message and so on — with a time stamp.”

Not everyone is as enthusiastic as the engineer. The Civil Liberties Union fears the technology would access private information on the phone and represents a violation of privacy and civil liberties.

At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, our attorneys are seeing a rising tide of deaths and injuries caused by distracted drivers. We have helped many people injured by drivers who were texting and believe all methods of cracking down on distracted drivers should be explored within the law. If you have been involved in an accident involving a distracted driver in Virginia or northeastern North Carolina, please call us at (757) 455-0077.

Griff O'Hanlon


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