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What Exactly Is the Textalyzer?


You may have heard about a Breathalyzer. If you haven’t, it’s the machine that law enforcement officers ask suspected drunk drivers to blow into to measure the concentration of alcohol in their body. What exactly, then, is the Textalyzer?

In recent years, close to every state has enacted legislation that makes texting and driving illegal. In many states, texting and driving is a secondary offense. That means that a person can’t be charged with texting and driving unless they are first pulled over for a moving violation like speeding or reckless driving. In some states, it can be the primary offense and reason for a car stop and citation.  Many advertising campaigns have been launched around the county to address the issue of texting and driving. “It can wait” is one of the most popular.

Unfortunately, the problem seems to be getting worse. Most Americans polled have admitted to texting behind the wheel. They also confess to using social media, sending emails and taking selfies. Road fatalities which were on the decline are now climbing again. This can be attributed to more people on the road, but also to distracted driving.

Legislators believe that something big needs to be done. They are considering treating distracted driving just like drunk driving. One of the ideas that has come out of discussions is the use of a device called the Textalyzer. Here’s how it would work:

A person is involved in a car accident. Law enforcement officers arrive on scene and ask for the cellphones of any person involved. They tap the Textalyzer into the phone and it checks for any recent activity. The device could determine if the phone had been used recently and how. If the person refused to hand over their phone, they would face the same consequences as if they had refused a Breathalyzer.

There are privacy laws surrounding the use of technology such as this, and those laws are currently a hurdle to the development of such a device. Despite this, lawmakers are seriously considering the Textalyzer and its use is closer to becoming a reality in New York. So far, there is really no way to tell if a person had been distracted when they caused an accident unless they admit to having been doing something else, like texting.

The company who may build the first Textalyzer says that the software for the device is still not fully developed. They don’t know what the final laws will be or what it will require, so things are on hold for now. The chief executive of the company has said that the technology is not challenging, possibly meaning that the Textalyzer could be produced rather quickly if laws dictating its use pass. It very well may happen; lawmakers are pushing hard to get bills approved and turned into law.

If you have been pulled over and given a citation in New York City, you may need an experienced traffic ticket attorney by your side. Call our office today and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. Don’t fight your ticket on your own. Let us talk to you and advise you of the options you have.