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Textalyzer Device May Help Law Enforcement Crack Down on Texting & Driving

It is no secret that cell phone use and text messaging are among the most dangerous and prevalent forms of distracted driving. In fact, officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are stating that the smart phone use behind the wheel has become one of the primary driving forces behind recent surges in roadway fatalities across the country. As such, lawmakers and law enforcement are constantly on the lookout for better ways to crack down on this dangerous epidemic.

Although many states throughout the U.S. have passed laws that enable law enforcement to ticket motorists who text while driving, it can still be difficult to determine whether a motorist was truly text messaging while operating a motor vehicle– especially when drivers are involved in collisions without law enforcement nearby. To address this issue, a company named Cellebrite has developed an electronic tablet-sized device that would allow police to determine if a driver was texting prior to a car accident.

Similar to a breathalyzer, the textalyzer would be a tool used by police after an accident (or a traffic stop). Information it downloads from a driver’s cell phone can then make cell phone activity in the minutes before a crash visible to law enforcement. Currently, police must obtain a search warrant in order to download that data.

Given the unique nature of cell phones, private information, and case law regarding law enforcement’s right to investigate cellular devices, the textalyzer is raising concerns regarding privacy. Backers behind the textalyzer, however, explain that information about calls and texts are not available, just clicks and swipes. For many, the public safety benefits associated with being able to hold distracted drivers accountable and deter others from engaging in risky multi-tasking behind the wheel also outweigh potential privacy concerns. For now, the textalyzer will remain a prototype, and law enforcement will not be able to utilize it when investigating distracted driving wrecks until states pass laws permitting their use.

At Anderson & Boutwell, our Hammond personal injury attorneys have represented many auto accident victims who were harmed in wrecks involving distracted drivers. Having seen the devastating consequences distracted driving accidents can create for victims and their loved ones, we understand efforts to improve enforcement of texting laws – including Louisiana’s own law prohibiting all motorists from texting behind the wheel.

If you have questions about distracted driving and your rights after an accident, our legal team is readily available to help. Contact us 24/ to request a free consultation.

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