‘Textalyzer’ Technology Takes Aim at Distracted Drivers

  • By ALYSSA NEWCOMB  twitterlogotransparent

Apr 12, 2016, 3:18 PM ET

The breathalyzer could be getting a companion in the future: the textalyzer, a device that could check to see if a driver’s phone was in use in the moments prior to or during a car accident.

A bill sponsored by New York State Sen. Terrence Murphy calls for a textalyzer technology to be used in the field after a collision. The proposal is for a technology that would be able to see if a driver was distracted by their phone, without providing access to photos, messages, contacts and other private data. If a driver doesn’t comply, he or she could risk losing their license, according to the proposal.

“Empowering our law enforcement with technology, which is able to immediately determine cell phone usage without an inquiry into the content will allow enforcement of these laws after an accident while still protecting essential privacy rights,” Murphy’s bill reads.

Under the bill’s current language, a driver would give “implied consent” for field testing of their phone to be conducted by a police officer “at or near the time of the accident or collision, which provides the grounds for such testing. No such electronic scan shall include the content or origin of any communication, game conducted, image or electronic data viewed on a mobile telephone or a portable electronic device.”