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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim, Will a Textalyzer Make It Easier?

There has for some time now been concern for the number of accidents which cause serious injuries and fatalities caused by texting while driving. So often, it is too late and the damage is done and it’s not always that simple to prove that the accident has been caused by someone who has been distracted by texting.

This may be all about to change with a new device aptly named a textalyzer that will help police authorities to determine if an auto accident was caused by someone who was texting on their mobile device when they should not have been. It resembles in principle a breathalyzer that is supposed to be able to measure the blood alcohol level of a driver who has been stopped under suspicion of driving while intoxicated and is over the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

The way the textalyzer works is when a driver has allegedly been the cause of an accident the police can help determine their suspicion that the driver was texting while driving by demanding the alleged offender to hand over their phone for roadside testing where a textalyzer is used to check if the driver was texting when the accident happened.

There is still a question of the Fourth Amendment and the right to privacy. This may be sidestepped by ensuring that any information acquired from the alleged offender’s phone is kept strictly private. This means such information as conversations, personal contact number list, photographs and app data. All that will be revealed by the textalyzer is whether the driver was using his or her phone when the accident took place.

The proposed legislation has arisen following non-stop lobbying by a group called Distracted Operators Risk Casualties (DORC). If the legislation becomes law it will be called Evan’s Law after Evan Lieberman who was killed in New York by a distracted driver in 2011. His father, Mr. Lieberman, is the co-founder of the lobbying group.

Lieberman stated that he saw drunk driving and distracted driving as sharing common ground and drivers who lose concentration and cause an accident should be just as accountable as a drunk driver.

The proposal in the legislation is that any driver who fails to submit to having his or her phone tested may lose their driver’s license.

The proposed new law which is presently being discussed at the New York Senate Transportation Committee, would change the current motor vehicle driving law so that drivers give “implied consent” when they are stopped and asked to submit their phones for inspection. Also to be written into the new law is that the textalyzer will not be able to snoop or reveal the content of communication that has taken place on an individual phone.

When stopped by police on suspicion of using an electronic device which contributed to an accident the driver will be warned that if he or she does not submit to the textalyzer this is grounds for the immediate license suspension.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that every day on U.S. roads nine people lose their lives due to a distracted driver incident while at least 1,150 are injured. This adds up to around 20 percent of mishaps on the road due to distracted driving.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of an accident in any situation and it was not his or her fault you should arrange a free consultation with Richard S. Jaffe Esq. who is an experienced New York and Long Island personal injury attorney.

Richard says these accident statistics are alarming and his office has seen a noticeable increase in clients who are trying to get compensation for injuries in accidents that were not caused by themselves but by a distracted driver. He is hopeful that if the legislation is passed it will give more opportunity for his clients to prove fault in an accident if a driver has to hand over his or her phone for inspection. Up to now a suspected distracted driver who was texting or using a mobile phone when a crash took place would have to be caught red-handed but the new legislation will allow for the evidence to be found after the accident event.


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