When the breathalyzer was introduced decades ago, the number of drunk driving accidents each year around the country did seem to be reduced, an obvious positive effect of breakthrough technology. As distracted driving accidents continue to increase year after year, as information gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates, legislators are wondering if new technology could once again be the solution to the problem of texting and driving. Can there be a way to tell if a driver was using their cellphone during the moment of impact in a car accident?
As it turns out, if you give computer scientists and engineering experts enough time, they will probably find a solution to whatever tech problem you have. Introducing the textalyzer, an in-development device that would collect fragments of data from cellphones at the scene of a collision to determine if it was in use at a certain point in time. The proposed idea, which is gaining momentum in New York particularly, is to arm police officers with the device in their squad cars and allow them to scan the cellphones of all drivers involved in a crash. Police notification is already required after a major collision so that they can redirect traffic or help victims, so law enforcement officials would not be losing any time in this practice.
Fourth Amendment Controversy
The concept is turning heads as people fear that it would give the police free access to their private information on their cellphones. Cellebrite, one of the technology firms apparently at the front of textalyzer device and application development, promises that the fears are unfounded. The information the textalyzer collects would be just enough to know if the phone was being used for texting, video viewing, web browsing, etc. but nothing more; the actual specifics of what was being done, such as message content and recipient, would not be taken.
Many are not reassured, however. Cellebrite has been linked, without total confirmation, to the FBI’s recent cracking of an alleged terrorist’s iPhone, which sparked another Fourth Amendment debate (view a Forbes online article on their site here about it). Those against the textalyzer believe private information would be collected and sold to the highest bidder, regardless of what the tech firm claims.
Ease of Liability Establishment
At the other end of the spectrum, supporters of the textalyzer see it as an immediate resolution to determining liability in car accidents. No longer would you have to rely on the honesty of a negligent driver or a court order to access their cellphone data. People struck by distracted drivers would only need to get a copy of the police’s report of the accident, something they already have the right to obtain.
To get more information about the textalyzer, the New York Times has a full article that can be viewed here. For help with a personal injury claim after you were struck by a distracted driver, contact a Stuart car accident lawyer from Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC.