No texting while driving. It seems simple, right?
It’s no secret that texting and driving is an alarming issue and has become a leading cause of car accidents. Most states, including California, have specific laws banning you from texting while operating a vehicle. Unfortunately, making it illegal hasn’t stopped the masses from partaking in the activity. Quite the opposite actually, surveys show that American drivers confess that they still text and drive even though they know it’s illegal.
Maybe you only text when traffic is slow or when you’re stopped at a stoplight. No matter how careful you think you’re being, the fact remains that anytime you take your eyes off the road, even for a split-second, you’re putting yourself and others at serious risk. From 2014 to 2015, the number of road fatalities had risen by 8 percent, which is the largest year-over-year increase in 50 years.
Will anything halt this growing trend?
Over the last seven years, most states in the U.S. have passed laws restricting the use of cellphones while driving. Despite law enforcements best efforts, the problem continues to grow as drivers become increasingly dependent on their cellphones.
The state of New York is considering a different approach for cracking down texting and driving. Currently making its way through legislation is a bill that would require drivers involved in a car accident to have their cellphones scanned by authorities for evidence of recent use.
How can you scan a cellphone?
Last week, the governor of New York announced plans to study the effectiveness of ‘textalyzer’ technology as well as addressing concerns about privacy and civil liberty infringement.
Modeled after the breathalyzer, which determines a driver’s blood alcohol level, the ‘textalyzer’ is a device that would plug into your cellphone and analyzes its recent activity. This device would allow law enforcement to establish whether or not you were illegally using your phone at the time of the accident.
Would this be an invasion of privacy?
Most people who oppose this bill do so because they believe the ‘textalyzer’ would be an invasion of privacy. The device manufacturer and supporters of this bill state that the ‘textalyzer’ would not allow the police to download any content from your phone; they cannot access your email, read your text messages, see your photos, etc. It is merely a way for them to determine if a driver was actively engaged on their phone when the accident took place.
Critics of this technology are still not convinced. As of now, the only way to obtain information from a driver’s cellphone is by issuing a warrant. They believe the simple act forcing someone to hand their phone over to authorities without so much as a warrant is an invasion of civil liberties.