Law enforcement has a system for finding out whether a driver was under the influence of alcohol. If the officer has reason to suspect drunk driving, he will ask the driver to submit to a Breathalyzer test. Breathalyzers measure the blood alcohol content of the driver and will help determine whether he will be arrested for a DUI.
Proving that a driver was distracted can be more difficult. Officers often have to rely on witness testimony or driver statements to prove that a driver was on the phone at the time of a car accident. In many cases, cell phone records will need to be subpoenaed to show whether calls were made. However, these records do not track internet activity. The driver may give the phone to police, but that leads to privacy issues and puts pressure on the officers to find the right information.
The father of a distracted driving victim teamed up with Cellebrite, a mobile forensics company, to make it easier to prove distracted driving. The technology allows an officer to connect a driver's phone to their laptop or another device to show whether the driver was typing or using the touchscreen at the time of an accident. The technology protects the driver's personal information and does not show what the driver was texting.
Evan's Law, legislation named after the man's son, was introduced to the New York Legislature to permit officers to use the Textalyzer technology in cases where they suspect distracted driving. Implied consent laws will apply to the Textalyzer, meaning that if a driver refuses to submit to the test, they may have their license suspended.
Drivers who are caught driving while distracted could face fines and license suspensions. In New York, your first violation could lead to five driver violation points added to your license, as well as a 120-day license suspension and a fine of up to $200. While the Textalyzer technology will not prevent all distracted driving accidents, it is a step in the right direction.
Source: CNN, "Driving While Distracted: Is the Textalyzer the new Breathalyzer?," Kelly Wallace, Sep. 2, 2016