California residents may have heard of textalyzers, a device that could give law enforcement officials the ability to see if drivers are reading emails, texting or viewing social media sites on their cell phones while driving. However, nearly 40,000 traffic deaths occurred in the U.S. in 2016, and many of them were from cell phone distractions.
Lawmakers from New York and other states and cities are thinking about allowing police to use textalyzers to crack into cell phones to find out if individuals are texting while driving. The device works via a cord that a law enforcement official can simply plug into a cell phone, even while the phone is in the driver's hands. Then, in about two minutes, the device is able to read what the phone's latest activities were, whether it involved texting or making or receiving calls, and the time of those activities.
The engineer working for the company that is developing the device demonstrated it before reporters and lawmakers at the New York State Capital in Albany and said that it would not infringe on a person's personal information because it does not download content. It simply identifies if individuals are legally using their phones. However, several civil libertarians and privacy advocates disagreed and said that if the device would be allowed to be used, it would give police authority to search people's phones at any time, which would violate the public's privacy rights and civil liberties.
People who suffer catastrophic injuries in an auto crash caused by a driver suspected of using a cell phone at the time of the accident might pursue damages against the driver by filing a civil court claim. Car accident victims may wish to seek the advice of an attorney who handles these types of claims.