The Breathalyzer has been measuring the blood-alcohol level of drivers suspected of being intoxicated behind the wheel for years: Now, the textalyzer is designed to assist authorities in determining whether an individual who is involved in a car accident was distracted because he or she was using a cell phone while driving.
Distracted Driving Survey – 30% of Drivers Text
In 2015, Erie Insurance conducted a distracted driving survey. In this survey, drivers admit to doing a variety of dangerous activities while behind the wheel: Activities ranged from brushing one’s teeth to changing clothes. Furthermore, the survey finds that more than 30 percent of the respondents text as they drive and 75 percent state that they have seen other drivers doing it.
NHSTA Distracted Driving Report
According to the April 2015 release of NHSTA’s Summary of Statistical Findings, reports indicate that 10 percent of all the drivers between the ages of 15 to 19 years who were involved in a fatal crash were distracted at the time of the accident. In addition, NHTSA finds that drivers who are in their 20s make up 23 percent of the drivers involved in fatal crashes, nationwide; furthermore, this age group represents nearly 30 percent of the distracted drivers and almost 40 percent of the distracted drivers using cell phones at the time of the fatal crash.
Cellebrite is the Israeli firm that developed this roadside technology. There is legislation proposed in New York requesting that drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents submit their phones to be analyzed by the textalyzer. In an attempt to maintain the Fourth Amendment’s right to privacy, the device is allegedly designed to answer just one question: Was the phone in use prior to the accident? If the answer is yes, further analysis may require a warrant to determine whether the driver was using the phone via hands-free dashboard technology, etc.
Distracted Operators Risk Casualties (DORCs) Lobbied for the Textalyzer Legislation
Ben Lieberman and his wife Debbie founded DORCs after the death of their 19-year-old son, Evan. In 2011, Evan was killed while riding in a car with a distracted driver. The driver of the car originally stated that he fell asleep while driving; however, when the Lieberman family subpoenaed his cell phone records, they showed that he was allegedly distracted while driving. This fatal crash happened in the state of New York; hence, the intense lobbying from DORCs to pass this new legislation in the state. The proposed law is being dubbed “Evan’s Law” in memory of Evan Lieberman.
Distracted Driving Responsible for 20% of U.S. Accidents
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that at least eight people in the US die every day and more than 1,100 people are injured due to accidents caused by distracted driving. This statistic indicates that approximately 20 percent ofmotor vehicle mishaps are due to distracted driving.
Accountability May Bring About Positive Change
Lieberman states in a press release that holding people accountable for drinking and driving brought about positive change, he believes that distracted driving should be recognized as a similar impairment and be addressed in a similar fashion [to drinking and driving].
Cellebrite’s CEO Jim Grady states that Cellebrite has led the way for the adoption of field mobile forensics solutions for years: Grady states that the company looks forward to supporting law enforcement and DORCs in the state of New York and nationally in the move to curb distracted driving.
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Photo via flickr by Steven Damron