In the News: A Textalyzer?
You’ve heard of the breathalyzer for DWIs. But have you heard of the textalyzer?
The textalyzer is a device which can determine whether you were using your phone will driving. Recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked the Governer’s Traffic Safety Committee to take a look at the technology.
The device plugs directly into your phone and can determine whether you were texting, emailing, surfing the web or doing other things on your cell phone. Remember, in the state of New York, you can get a ticket simply for interacting with your GPS while you are behind the wheel of any car where the engine is running, even if you’re parked.
The device theoretically prevents officers from seeing personal information, such as the content of your text conversation or the nature of your web search. Currently, officers would have to get a warrant to look at your phone, and would have access to that information while attempting to determine whether you were texting while driving.
This device would most likely be used after serious car crashes to help determine whether reckless driving caused the crash. Officers would likely use this information as the basis for a warrant which would then allow them to get a better look at your cell phone usage.
Proposed bills would allow the DMV to suspend your license for refusing to allow an officer to use the textalyzer on your phone. This is similar to current laws which allow the DMV to do the same if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test.
The manufacturer of the textalyzer, Cellbrite, stresses that the technology isn’t ready yet and estimates it will be another 13 months before it is viable. They claim police officers would have to rewrite the device code to get at any personal information.
The company currently manufactures devices meant to extract and decode every bit of data on any digital device, in aid of electronic forensics examinations. They also offer “cloud analyzers” which extracts and preserves social media and IM data for police officers to use as evidence. They claim these devices operate within pre-approved legal boundaries.
In 2013, texting and driving surpassed drinking and driving as the leading cause of death for teen drivers. Your best bet is, of course, to put your phone away when you drive. Program the GPS and get your music on before you leave, and then stow the phone in a purse, a pocket, or some other difficult-to-reach location. If you’ve been accused of texting while driving, remember that it is possible to fight these tickets with the help of an experienced traffic lawyer.