It is widely known that texting while driving is a dangerous behavior that increases the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Despite this, many individuals can’t resist reaching for their phone to read, and sometimes even respond, to a text when they hear the telltale “ding” or buzz reporting a new message. The problem is rampant throughout the nation. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported distracted drivers caused crashes that led to the deaths of 3,179 people.
While readers may assume that following a crash, subpoenaing cellphone records is immediately done, this is not always the case. Even when the records are secured, it can be difficult to prove that the driver’s texting while driving had anything to do with the crash. One state is considering using a machine that would quickly be able to tell whether a phone was being used when a collision occurred. This could then lead to harsher penalties for the driver.
Referred to as a “textalyzer” the device would be plugged into the cellphone immediately following the crash. In addition to any texts, it would also register other electronic distractions that had transpired, tied to the phone. Though not yet created, a bill has been introduced in the legislature in New York that would allow its use. In 2013, a similar bill was proposed in New Jersey. It was unsuccessful.
Most people who have been injured, or lost a loved one, in a crash that was the result of driver who was texting, would agree that any steps that might be taken to reduce the number of these incidents from occurring is a good thing.