Even though most states have banned texting or using a handheld device while driving, people still do it on the regular, and it’s becoming a major issue. Road fatalities, which had dropped in recent years, are now rising sharply again. They were up roughly 8% in 2015 over the previous year and distracted driving is partially to blame.
Everyone is trying to do their part to stop people from texting, Tweeting and Facebooking behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is even tweet-shaming people who admit to using the platform while operating a moving vehicle.
Up until this point, officers pulling people over really had no one of knowing if a person was using a phone while driving unless they witnessed it with their own eyes. Now, technology is in development that will absolutely prove a person was texting while driving.
The most provocative idea, from lawmakers in New York, is to give police officers a new device that is the digital equivalent of the Breathalyzer — a roadside test called the Textalyzer.
It would work like this: An officer arriving at the scene of a crash could ask for the phones of any drivers involved and use the Textalyzer to tap into the operating system to check for recent activity.
The technology could determine whether a driver had used the phone to text, email or do anything else that is forbidden under New York’s hands-free driving laws, which prohibit drivers from holding phones to their ear. Failure to hand over a phone could lead to the suspension of a driver’s license, similar to the consequences for refusing a Breathalyzer.
The proposed legislation faces hurdles to becoming a law, because of privacy concerns, but if it does pass many states will follow New York’s lead.
[via NY Times]