The “Textalyzer”: What is It And is It Coming to New Jersey?
There’s a bill currently going through the New York Legislature that would allow the police to use a device that determines whether drivers have been using their phones at the scene of a car accident. According to the Washington Post, the “textalyzer” is a roadside device that can determine if you were using your phone at the time of the accident. It can also do a more in-depth crawl, such as finding out what exactly you were doing on your phone, as long as the police obtain a warrant.
According to the Distracted Operators Risk Casualties group, an advocacy organization that promotes preventive legal action for distracted driving accidents, the bill, known as “Evan’s Law,” gives law enforcement “implied consent” to have a phone tested at the scene of the crash so a person’s Fourth Amendment rights aren’t violated. In addition, there is no phone data actually being taken.
Several civil liberties groups are skeptical about the bill and whether a prison’s privacy will be violated. This type of technology can very easily be misused, especially since police officers can always obtain call and texting records with timestamps from the phone companies, something that officers rarely do.
Is a “textalyzer” really necessary? Unfortunately, distracted driving has increased over the last few years. In 2011, at least 23 percent of all auto accident involved the use of cell phones at the time of the crash. Texting while driving can make a crash up to 23 times more likely. The biggest problem is with teen drivers – 13 percent of drivers ages 18 to 20 involved in car accidents admitted to texting or talking on their phones at the time of the crash.
So could New Jersey see a similar law soon? Currently there are no plans for textalyzers to be used in the state. But with distracted driving on the rise and if this law passes in New York, something might be coming our way soon.
If you were a victim of a car accident that involved a distracted driver, we’re here to help. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone now for a free consultation.