Texting and driving might become a thing of the past if new legislation passes in New York City. The proposed law would allow police to use a special device to determine instantly whether a driver involved in a car accident was using a mobile device for any purpose at the time of the accident.
The device, dubbed “Textalyzer” and similar in concept to a Breathalyzer used to determine whether a person is driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, might be developed by Cellebrite. The company, which was suspected until recently to have worked with the FBI to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone, already has a device capable of telling investigators whether a phone was in use at a certain time. A new version of the new device used by police officers would have to be stripped of some functionality in order to protect the privacy of the driver.
The law is currently before the New York Senate Transportation Committee, Ars Technica reports, and would recast the current motor-vehicle driving law so that drivers would give “implied consent.” The motorists would agree that police determines “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. 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.”
Failure to agree to the Textalyzer would result in immediate suspension of your driver’s license.
The new law proposal comes after intense lobbying from the DORCs group, which is short for Distracted Operators Risk Casualties, and it’s dubbed “Evan’s Law.” Evan, who was killed in 2011 by a distracted driver in New York, was the son of DORCs co-founder, Ben Lieberman. The Liebermans only found out the cause of the accident that killed their 19-year-old son after they subpoenaed the mobile phone records of the driver involved in the crash.