Distracted driving because of cell phones is now deemed just as dangerous as drunk driving, and law enforcement is taking notice. There is a new tool and corresponding legislation currently under consideration in New York that could help put an end to texting while driving. It is called the textalyzer.
What is The Textalyzer
Developed by the Israeli company Cellebrite, the textalzyer is so named because it is similar to the breathalyzer. The breathalyzer is a tool used by police officers to measure a person’s alcohol intoxication level. It has been in use for years, with overwhelmingly positive results. By comparison, the textalyzer will work by examining a driver’s cell phone after a crash. The tool will tell responding officers if the person in question was texting or on the phone at or near the time of the accident.
How Does The Textalyzer Work?
The law behind the textalyzer, which is currently under consideration before the New York Senate Transportation Committee, will recast the current driving law to show “implied consent” by motorists. This “implied consent” will be used by law enforcement as a way to obtain a drivers phone for testing after an accident. If a driver refuses the textalyzer test, driving privileges will immediately be suspended and eventually revoked.
Whose Idea Was it?
The legislation behind this new tool was promoted by the group Distracted Operators Risk Casualties (DORCs). The co-founder of this group is Ben Lieberman, whose 19-year-old son Evan was killed in a distracted driver related crash in 2011. The proposed law is referred to as “Evan’s Law.” It is so named to honor the memory of Evan. Lieberman had the following to say about the importance of this proposed action:
“When people were held responsible for drunk driving (through breathalyzers and other means), that’s when positive change occurred. It’s time to recognize distracted driving as a similar impairment, and deal with it in similar fashion. This is the way to address the people who are causing damage.”
Is Texting Really as Dangerous as Drunk Driving?
In short, yes. Texting can be just as harmful as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine people die each day and more than 1,153 sustain a personal injury as a result of a distracted driving incident. This means around 20% of all accidents are a result of distracted driving.
Annual statistics show the negative impact of distracted driving even more profoundly. For example, Distraction.gov claims 3,179 people were killed and another 431,000 were injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers in 2014. In Maine alone, there were over 3,000 distracted driver related crashes in 2013 according to the Portland Press Herald. These stats all combine to paint a picture that shows the immense need for more to be done about distracted driving. It is a very real problem.
What Does the Texalzyer Mean For You?
Whether or not the textalyzer becomes as commonplace as the breathalyzer is yet to be determined. However, the fact that it is being considered shows the harm distracted driving is doing in this country. People who are the victims of distracted driving accidents can have long-term effects from their injuries, which can negatively impact the rest of their lives. To prevent personal injuries and fatalities caused by cell phone use, this form of distracted driving must be addressed. The textalyzer may be the tool to do this. If you or someone you love have been a victim of distracted driving, contact the experienced Maine law firm of Fales & Fales today for the help you deserve.