New York lawmakers recently introduced a bill that would legalize the use of a “textalyzer,” a device that scans drivers’ cell phones for signs of recent use after a collision, in an effort to curb the number of car accidents attributed to distracted driving and provide injured victims with a way to obtain accurate evidence of distracted drivers’ negligence. The bill’s language states that if signed into law, drivers would be required to comply with an officer’s request to scan their phones for evidence of use or face penalties, much like the current implied consent law for breathalyzer testing.
Opponents of the bill state that it invades drivers’ privacy and that if phone records are needed for an investigation, law enforcement can obtain a warrant to search drivers’ phones. But this is a complicated process. James Grady, CEO of Cellebrite, the company that manufactures the textalyzer device, has publicly said that the device does not retrieve data from tested phones. According to him, it merely detects signs of recent use such as swiping the screen.
New York Distracted Driving Statistics
Distracted driving is a serious issue throughout the country. On a national scale, the use of a cell phone while driving was cited as a cause of 26 percent of car accidents in 2014, according to the National Safety Council. A few statistics specific to New York include:
- In 2014, driver inattention was cited as a factor in 19.1 percent of New York car accidents
- Of the 269 fatal pedestrian collisions that occurred that year, driver inattention was cited as a cause in 47 of these cases
- Compared to the rest of the state, New York City had a higher incidence of car accidents caused by distracted driving. It was cited as a factor in more than one-quarter of the collisions recorded in the city
- Distraction was named as a cause in 18.4 percent of reported truck accidents.
How Can this Proposed New Law Help Injury Victims?
Personal injury claimants must provide evidence that their injuries were directly caused by other parties’ negligence. Having a record that a driver’s phone was in use in the moments that immediately preceded an accident can be strong evidence to show that the driver was negligent and thus, liable for the victim’s damages in cases where the victim suffers a serious injury or dies as the result of an accident.
Work with an Experienced Westchester Personal Injury Attorney
If you are suffering from an injury because of a collision with a distracted driver, you could be entitled to receive compensation for your related damages through a personal injury claim. To discuss your case in greater detail, schedule your initial consultation with a car accident lawyer at Grant & Longworth, Attorneys at Law today. Our firm can answer your questions and help you determine the most productive way to move forward with your personal injury case.