Most drivers are familiar with the use and purpose of breathalyzers, even if they have not personally used them. A breathalyzer is an electronic device that determines an individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC) using a sample of their breath. Licensed New Jersey drivers give “implied consent” to these tests when they receive their licenses, meaning that they must provide breath samples when asked to do so by law enforcement.
In July 2017, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state’s Traffic Safety Committee would begin examining the use of “textalyzers,” which are devices that can be plugged into smartphones to download time-stamped information about the phone’s recent activity. These devices would be used to determine if drivers were using their phones when their collisions occurred, which would aid in demonstrating their negligence in contested personal injury claims. The devices have many critics, including the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.
How a Textalyzer Works
The textalyzer that could become an everyday tool for New York law enforcement officers is fairly straightforward. The electronic device is plugged into a suspected distracted driver’s smart phone with a cable, then the driver’s recent phone use record is downloaded to the device. Currently, the device is being developed by Israeli technology firm Cellebrite.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Textalyzer Use
Cell phone use on the road is a big problem in New Jersey. In 2015 alone, 1,668 collisions related to cell phone use were recorded in the state. In 2014, New Jersey police wrote more than 87,000 tickets for cell phone use while driving. Fines for this offense range from $200 to $800, depending on the circumstances of the event.
Although most New Jersey car accident victims file personal injury protection (PIP) claims to recover compensation for their injury-related damages, those who suffer severe injuries can file personal injury claims, which require them to prove that another driver’s negligence caused them to be injured. A record of the negligent driver’s recent phone use is a strong piece of evidence to demonstrate that they were distracted in the moments leading up to and during the accident. Ideally, knowledge of the device and its potential repercussions would be an incentive for drivers to choose not to use their phones while driving.
Critics of textalyzer use argue that using them is a violation of drivers’ privacy rights. The New Jersey legislature saw a similar bill in 2013, which would have permitted law enforcement to use the devices to search smartphones without search warrants. A spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey condemned the usage of such textalyzers.
Cherry Hill Car Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Represent Victims Injured in Distracted Driving AccidentsA distracted driver can have a disastrous impact on other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. If you have been injured in a collision with a distracted driver, fill out our online form or call 856-414-0010 to schedule your initial consultation with an experienced Cherry Hill car accident lawyer at DiTomaso Law. Our offices are located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Philadelphia.