NY Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to find out if texting and driving accidents in New York could be prevented with the help of a textalyzer. Yesterday the governor announced that he mandated the Traffic Safety Committee to study the possibility of providing police officers with textalyzers. The textalyzer is a portable electronic device that can be plug into the phone of a driver to determine if they were using their cell phone just before an accident occurred.
Supporters of the textalyzer says the device will help the police determine the cause of an accident and it will also act as a deterrent. It will aid in preventing drivers from using their phones while driving.
Others are opposed to it because they see it as an invasion of privacy. Civil libertarians argue that automatically handing your cell phone to a police officer violates due process. They believe police should have to get a warrant before being able to access someone’s phone.
The Traffic Safety Committee will have to look at the existing technology and the constitutional and legal issues that come with it. The Committee will provide the results of its study by the end of the year. If the Committee approves the device, the next step will be to have it approved by State Lawmakers.
Distracted driving is the number one cause of traffic accidents in New York and in the US. National statistics show that traffic accidents have been steadily increasing since the usage of smart phone became popular. According to a report released last December by the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, between 2011 and 2015 in New York State, the usage of cellphones by drivers caused 12 people to die and 2,784 people to be injured in car accidents. During the same time period 1.2 million tickets were issued by the NY police for texting and driving.
Read the complete press release from Governor Cuomo here