This device could determine if you were texting and driving

By Shawn Knight ยท 12 replies
Apr 29, 2016
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  1. Texting and driving continues to be a major problem on today’s roadways and let’s be honest with ourselves – public service announcements alone aren’t going to reverse the trend. Fully autonomous vehicles will negate the issue but those are still many years away.

    In the interim, New York lawmakers have proposed implementing a test that would determine if a driver involved in an accident was texting or otherwise using their phone in a manner that may have been distracting and ultimately caused said accident.

    The test, dubbed the Textalyzer, is essentially the digital version of the breathalyzer used by police to measure the amount of alcohol in a driver’s breath to determine if they were intoxicated while behind the wheel.

    As The New York Times explains, an officer at the scene of an accident could ask for the phones of drivers involved in the accident and use the Textalyzer to tap into the mobile device’s operating system to check for recent activity. Failure to hand over a phone for testing could result in the suspension of a driver’s license.

    It’s an extreme measure that’s ripe with all sorts of privacy concerns although proponents of the bill, like Democratic assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz, say it would only allow law enforcement to determine if a driver was actively using a device, not view the contents of any messages that may have been sent or received.

    Keep in mind that many states have already banned texting by drivers but as we all know, that has done little to curb the issue as police can’t be everywhere at all times to enforce it. If passed, the Textalyzer may scare a few people into stopping the bad behavior but again, one would be foolish to think it would put a major dent in the epidemic.

    Image courtesy Cellebrite

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  2. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 861   +875

    IME, the only thing that will stop twats who think their phone is all important is smacking into another car, lightpost/wall, ece.
  3. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    I don't think this would be allowed in states where texting while driving isn't illegal. Searching your person or car is done to check if you're breaking any laws, and if texting isn't illegal - there's no reason to check the phone.

    However, in states where texting while driving IS illegal (like Illinois) a cop would probably be able to check your phone after an accident... today if you crash into a pole they check your car for drugs/alcohol whether you want them to or not. If texting is as illegal as drinking they'll be checking phones after a crash. Your right to your privacy goes right out the window when you endanger the lives of those around you on the road.
  4. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,596   +257

    When I have a phone holder to hold my phone at eye (or road) level, and bluetooth music to my car stereo and using Google Maps.... This is a terrible idea, that will not accurately tell police whether or not someone was using their phone in a manner that distracted them from the road and caused said accident. Is it illegal to listen to music? or use GPS devices? Still however, if I was in an accident they would automatically say its because I was texting and driving. SMH

    Its like, holding a sealed beer between your legs while driving, getting pulled over and have the cop assume you've been drinking because its between your legs (or in your drink holder). Of course, this is a bad example, because the cop can see the container isnt opened. However, if you have an open CASE, missing beers, and the one you are holding just happens to not be open. The cop breathalyzes you, and you pass. So no trouble, right?

    This is a terrible analogy, but I think my point is in there somewhere...
  5. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Why get so complicated and expensive? Just check the perps messages on their device. If they see any messages sent very recently they know then they can lay charges. Messages do have a time stamp on them...
  6. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,136   +131

    For one, there's this awesome thing called the 4th Amendment that protects people from cops snooping your phone without a warrant, as well as a SCOTUS decision in Riley vs. California. New York already has enough unconstitutional totalitarian laws on the books without adding to them. Stop and Frisk anyone?
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,021   +2,553

    "Stop and frisk", fails to get results 80% of the time. So, it's an invasion of privacy, right? With that said, I sincerely hope that one, (or more), of those speaking out most aggressively against it, gets their their brains blown out by one of the 20% of illegal weapons which cancelling stop & frisk potentially leaves behind! (y)
    Last edited: May 1, 2016
    davislane1 likes this.
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,730   +3,703

    And that is the case even if, the person in question wasn't even the cause of the accident.
  9. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,336   +843

    Yeah, introduce more botnet into smartphones please.
  10. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,136   +131

    I think Benjamin Franklin said it best. "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,021   +2,553

    Well, I don't really have the funds to move into the ivory tower next to yours.

    Should you meet one of these hoodlums who escaped "stop and frisk", make sure you stipulate in your will, to have that Ben Franklin quote etched on your tombstone...(y)

    And BTW, Benjamin Franklin was talking in a different time, and in a far different context, namely consorting with "the enemy", King George and the British Army.

    You're just merely trying to sound clever.
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
  12. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,136   +131

    Trying to sound clever? LOL. I'm not trying, I assure you. The quote is just as relevant today, as it was when it was written in 1755. I suppose you also believe that the bill of rights is also just an old, outdated text that has no relevance in today's society.

    Don't worry about my safety from a random thug on the streets. I'm a staunch supporter of old texts. The 2nd Amendment included. I'll bet you think that only applies to muskets though. Right?
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,021   +2,553

    No, it's not even even close. It's completely out of context, and refers to giving aid and comfort to the enemy to the ends of currying their favor
    That conclusion is just stupid, not anywhere near anything I've ever posted here. Or is my last post to you the only one you've ever read?

    Hardly, I think the "right to keep and bear arms" is sancrosact. I also think the government and "we the people", "have the right to know", who's strapped at any given time.

    (Are you familiar with the slang term, "strapped")?

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