New York Bill Would Require Drivers Involved In Crashes To Submit Phones To “Textalyzer”

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Would a requirement to submit your phone to field testing to determine if you were texting or otherwise using the device before a motor vehicle crash prevent you from engaging in distracted driving? That’s the hope behind recently introduced legislation in New York and a device being dubbed a “textalyzer.” 

The textalyzer technology, which is still in development, is designed to determine whether the phone was in use prior to or during a crash, Ars Technica reports.

Under the proposed legislation [PDF], drivers involved in any crash would have to hand over their phones to authorities for analysis by the textalyzer. The process would work much like a roadside breathalyzer test used to check a driver’s blood-alcohol level.

The legislation, which is currently being viewed by the New York Senate Transportation Committee, would recast the motor-vehicle driving law to make it so that motorists give “implied consent” for “determining whether the operator of a motor vehicle was using a mobile telephone or portable electronic device at or near the time of the accident or collision, which provides the grounds for such testing.”

The proposed law also includes a provision that would ensure drivers’ privacy is not violated by the tests.

“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,” the law states.

Authorities would likely be required to obtain a search warrant to access additional information from the device, such as whether it was being used hands-free or to confirm the original findings, Ars Technica reports.

If a driver refuses to submit their phone for testing, the legislation allows for police officer to inform them that their “license or permit to drive and any non-resident operating privilege shall be immediately suspended and subsequently revoked.”

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First came the Breathalyzer, now meet the roadside police “textalyzer” [Ars Technica]

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