It’s too bad that distracted driving and technology are not an oxymoron. It would certainly be much better if they were a contradiction of terms. Unfortunately, many distracted driving tickets come from someone using technology to text and drive. Other than see you in action, how can the police issue you a summons? Ever heard of the textalyzer?
Some compare the textalyzer to the breathalyzer. No doubt you already know that breathalyzers are used when there is a suspicion that someone is driving while intoxicated (DWI). Evidently, there has been success with this type of equipment. Meanwhile, textalyzers are designed to ascertain whether someone was operating a motor vehicle and using their phone at the same time.
All in all, the purpose of the textalyzer is premised on safety. Even so, some cynics may suggest that the real intent is to line municipal coffers with more ticket revenue.
The Origin of the Textalyzer
For starters, just about everyone knows that distracted driving can cause motor vehicle accidents. The textalyzer seeks to determine whether or not texting was a factor in the crash. Among other things, positive results would justify a traffic summons for distracted driving.
The technology has been developed by an Israeli company named Cellebrite. Coincidentally, they are the same organization that helped law enforcement authorities unlock Apple phones to review critical data.
According to news reports, the origin of the textalyzer is related to a New York fatal car accident. The father of the decedent suspected that the driver who caused the crash was texting when the incident occurred. However, he subsequently learned that there was no protocol allowing police to access the phone.
One of the major issues with police looking through cell phones is privacy considerations. As a consequence, the textalyzer only determines that the phone was being used. It does not go into the intricacies of whether the driver was on Snapchat or posting to Facebook or texting a friend.
New Jersey Law and the Textalyzer
As it now stands, the textalyzer is not being used in New Jersey. In fact, it is not available for sale yet. One of the main concerns continues to be issues regarding privacy laws.
Nevertheless, the New York legislature is considering a bill that would allow use of the product when there are suspicions of distracted driving. Obviously, many New Jersey residents frequent New York City and could find technology acting against them.
As it stands now, the State Legislature has not made a move to introduce the textalyzer into New Jersey. Notwithstanding, it is considering a bill that would permit law enforcement authorities to scan motor vehicle operator’s cellphones in certain situations. Penalties would be accessed for failing to turn over the devices.