Move Over Breathalyzer, Here Comes The “Textalyzer”
It's actually being proposed in New York, other states could follow.
New York legislators are working on proposed legislation that would utilize new technologies that would measure a driver's texting and digital device use behind the wheel, much like a breathalyzer can tell if a driver has been drinking.
The technology comes from a company called Cellebrite USA. It's a plug in device that the Israeli-based company says can tell if a person clicked or swiped a cellphone or other device while behind the wheel, and at what time. That could be compared to accident data, to determine if the person was texting or otherwise occupied when a crash occurred. The device is like a breathalyzer, except after a crash the driver's phone would be 'swiped' to see if they were using it when the crash occurred.
The Wall Street Journal says privacy advocates and others are already calling it another intrusion into personal rights. But supporters say the device only measures if such technology was being used--not giving authorities access to data. It would give investigators something to go off of. If the textalyzer indicates use at the time of a crash, officials would then get a warrant to examine actual phone records to verify if the person was texting etc.
Cellebrite says they're about 9 months from being ready to market. New York leaders are trying to pass a bill that would equip officers with the Textalyzer units. Under their proposal, a person wouldn't be criminally charged for refusing to have their phone swiped after a crash, but would lose their license. Similar bills are being considered in two other states for when the technology comes online.