Put Your Phone Down – The Textalyzer is Coming!

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We’ve talked about distracted driving quite a bit. More specifically, we’ve placed emphasis on the use of phones while driving. Texting while driving is certainly something we are constantly monitoring among our own fleet of mobile technicians and likely something you’ve addressed with yours as well. When it comes to run-ins with the law, however, texting while driving has been tough to enforce. There always seems to be a gray area between privacy and factual information.

Distracted DrivingWhile it hasn’t been put into play yet, lawmakers in several states are considering legislation that will allow law enforcers to use a “textalyzer” to determine if the driver was using his or her phone prior to a crash. In fact,
Legislation was introduced in New York State that would make your phone available to a police officer mandatory so they could check any texting activity. This law would be very similar to laws that require a driver to take a breathalyzer. Mean that by refusing to take the texalyzer, it could mean grounds for arrest.

Cellebrite, a company that empowers law enforcement through the use of technology, put on a demonstration of the textalyzer for lawmakers in Albany, NY, last April was spurred by Ben Lieberman, whose 19-year-old son – sitting in the back seat of a car – was killed in a car crash north of New York City in 2011.

While the texalyzer is not yet ready for everyday use, there are still lawmakers in several states considering legislation to enable police officers to connect a device known as a “textalyzer” to a mobile phone to instantly learn if the driver was texting prior to a crash.

But What About Privacy?

It is important to note that as of right now, the textalyzer would only capture taps and swipes that were made on the phone prior to an accident. It WOULD NOT download any content. And it would be able to tell if the driver was legally using the phone in hands-free mode, for example.

Understanding where the technology begins and ends will be critical into its implementation. For example, if it only is focused on whether or not the person was on the phone and at what time, then it’s less likely it would get into invading privacy. However, if it has the ability to tell who the person was speaking with and what the conversation was about, then that would bring up additional concerns on how using the textalyzer it gets enforced.

Many experts are stating that the textalyzer won’t be an “end-all and be-all” when it comes to crash investigations. While it will have its place in a crash investigation, it won’t end the investigation but rather, begin it. They see it as just another piece of evidence that will need to be analyze to determine the cause.

Safety at Dickinson Fleet Services

Since our company’s beginning, we’ve had a focus on safety. Not only for the clients we serve, but also our technicians. Lately, the hot topic in the safety conversation has been around distracted driving and cell phone usage. Earlier this year, we published an article entitled Distracted Driving – When Enough is Enough that drivers further into the impact of mobile phones in the transpiration industry.

More on Dickinson Fleet Services

Dickinson Fleet is the nation’s leader in mobile truck maintenance and repair. We currently have 300 mobile trucks equipped with state of the art technology visiting our customers nightly accross 40 states in nearly every major city in the country.

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