New York Considering Textalyzer (Again)
Any activity that makes a driver takes their eyes off of the road is dangerous, which is why texting behind the wheel is illegal in 46 states and using any handheld device is banned in 14. However, enforcing that law can be difficult. We have all been guilty at one time or another of holding a phone below the window line when we need to make a call or change a song. New York is considering employing a new tool called “The Textalyzer” that could tell if a phone is active, no matter where it is in the car.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because The Textalyzer was also up for debate about this time last year in New York. The device plugs in to a phone to determine when it was last used and if it caused a collision or other automotive incident. Ben Lieberman’s son, Evan Lieberman, passed away in 2011 when he was in a car accident and Ben had to file a lengthy lawsuit to get the cellphone records of the offending driver. His argument is that the process to determine if a driver was distracted should not take so long and the Textalyzer tool could be used like a breathalyzer in that it would be instantaneous and required.
Privacy advocates are concerned because it is unknown how much access police would have to someone’s phone when using the Textalyzer. Current laws require the owner’s consent and a warrant to access call and data records. The company behind the device, Cellebrite, claims that officers would only be able to see when a phone was used and not what data was sent or accessed. Since we covered the Textalyzer last year, no one has answered one of our main questions though, which is how streaming data from a maps app or music would be shown in a data log as that can be done without using the device illegally.
Use of the Textalyzer is being considered in New Jersey, Tennessee, and Chicago, according to Fox Business. We shall see what happens with this pending legislation, but until them stay safe and don’t text and drive.
News Source: Fox Business