New York Could be First State to Adopt “Textalyzer” to Reduce Distracted Driving

With the rising popularity of cell phone use over the years the amount of car accidents caused by distracted drivers has also increased.  More and more drivers are having trouble keeping their eyes on the road and instead are choosing to look at their cell phones to text, use Facebook and snapchat, read and send emails, or do any number of distracting things on their phone.  Even though almost all of the States ban texting while driving, the National Safety Council estimated that as many as 10,000 Americans were killed because of distracted driving last year.

If you are travelling at 55mph and are looking at your phone for 5 seconds you will travel the length of a football field without looking at the road and the possible dangers that exist on it.  By texting and driving you are essentially driving blindfolded and putting your life and the lives of others in danger.

In 2016, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a survey and found that 40% of drivers stated they have read a text or an email while driving, and nearly 1/3 reported typing one.  There have been numerous public service campaigns, such as “It can wait,” to convince people to put down their cell phones while they are driving but the distracted driving epidemic continues to exist at an alarming level.

A proposed law in the New York legislation would allow police at accident scenes in New York to immediately examine drivers’ cellphones with a device to determine if they’d been using their phone while driving. It has been referred to as the Breathalyzer for texting or the “textalyzer.”

The device is being developed by an Israeli company called Cellebrite who are hoping to help police combat the growing trend of car accidents caused by drivers distracted by their cell phones.  The device can report the exact time when the phone was clicked or a message was sent, but does not reveal the content of any messages sent or other content on the phone to preserve the privacy of the owner of the phone.

What you can do to help reduce distracted driving

Give clear instructions to new drivers – Give new drivers easy, clear instructions to not use their cell phone while driving.  If you are teaching someone to drive, discuss with them the danger of taking their eyes off the road even for a second.

Lead by example –Be an example for others by not using your phone while you drive.  This can be especially important for children because they are easily impressionable and often imitate what they see adults do.

Remove the Temptation to Text: Turn your cell on “silent”, completely turn your cell phone off, put your cell out of reach (the trunk or glove compartment), or download an app that prevents you from texting while driving.

Pull over to a safe place: If you absolutely need to text or talk on the phone pull off the road to a safe place (rest area, parking lot, gas station).

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