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As New Jersey continues to search for ways to deter drivers from texting while driving, a new device called a “textalyzer” may become the state’s latest law enforcement tool. Textalyzers work by detecting smartphone activity after plugging directly into a smartphone. According to the manufacturer Cellebrite, the device does not extract personal information during the process, only tracking that phone activity occurred without revealing the content or identity of the text message recipient.
By having the ability to determine a driver’s smartphone activity at the time of or just before a crash occurs, law enforcement hopes to use the technology as a deterrent to distracted driving. Law enforcement would not need a warrant to use the textalyzers and a driver’s refusal to the police use of the textalyzer would result in the suspension of the driver’s license. In this way, the use of the textalyzer would be very similar to how law enforcement currently uses breathalyzers to test for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Several states including New Jersey and New York have expressed interest in the textalyzer technology as way to lower the amount of car accidents caused by distracted driving. Numerous national studies have concluded that the largest percentage of serious teen driver collisions are the result of distracted driving which includes texting while driving. A recent AT& T study found that 70 percent of drivers use their smartphones to text, email and search the internet while operating their vehicle.
New Jersey already has a “hands free” law, which allows a police officer to issue a ticket if the officer sees a driver holding a phone while operating a vehicle. Law enforcement hopes to expand their fight against distracted driving by using the textalyzer to further deter the use of cell phones while driving.
Opponents of the use of the textalyzer, including the American Civil Liberties Union, worry that by accessing an individual’s smartphone history, law enforcement may be invading the privacy of drivers. By not requiring a warrant for this type of search, many fear that the intrusiveness of the search outweighs its potential public safety purpose. There are also concerns that the actual textalyzer device will not be sophisticated or reliable enough to distinguish between the manual use of a cellphone while driving and the use of voice commands or even “bot” generated cell phone activities. This could lead to an exaggerated number of “false positives” which would call into question the legitimacy of the technology.
If you have been involved in a car accident caused by distracted driving including texting while driving, compensation may be available for your injuries. The experienced South Jersey personal injury attorneys at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. can help you throughout all stages of the litigation process. With offices conveniently located in Cherry Hill as well as Philadelphia and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients throughout the Philadelphia and South Jersey areas. To schedule your free initial consultation with an experienced South Jersey personal injury lawyer, call 856-354-9444 or contact us online.