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Cellphone use can currently be difficult to prove in a crash

In spite of laws forbidding the use of handheld electronic devices such as cellphones while behind the wheel, distracted driving continues to be a problem in New York. When a vehicle drifts across the center line into oncoming traffic or fails to stop at a red light, many people may immediately wonder if the crash was distraction related.

Law enforcement officers in New York cannot currently demand that a driver hand over a cellphone after an accident. If they do have a reasonable suspicion that texting was the cause of the collision, they still must go through a legal process in order to access any data from the phone. Privacy rights may easily be violated if authorities have the ability to take information from a person’s device. However, one company may be on the path to a solution.

The evidence needed in a crash has nothing to do with the content of the messages on a cellphone. Instead, developers of a device currently known as the Textalyzer point out that it is the source of the activity that matters. For example, the taps, swipes or other commands and their time stamps would provide an officer with the proof that a driver was handling the phone. A spokesman for the company explained that an officer would attach the device via a cord, so he or she would not need to look at the phone itself, preventing violations of privacy.

A person who is in an accident needs the details about the behaviors of the driver at fault and possible negligence. An attorney may be able to provide legal counsel on the best way to gather evidence about the cause of the crash.

Source: NPR, “'Textalyzer' Aims To Curb Distracted Driving, But What About Privacy?” David Schaper, April 27, 2017 

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