According to the National Highway Transportation Administration, during 2014, more than 3,200 people were killed in traffic accidents that were caused by distracted drivers. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, every day in the U.S., distracted drivers injure 1,153 and kill nine people. In reality, these numbers are likely much higher and highway safety experts largely attribute the increase in distracted driving-related accidents and deaths to the proliferation of cellphone use among drivers.
While New York is among the states that have enacted bans on both texting and using a handheld cellphone while driving, an alarming number of drivers throughout the state continue to do both. Currently, unless an at-fault driver is forthcoming, it’s difficult to determine if a driver was using a cellphone prior to a crash. However, the introduction of a recent road safety bill in New York could solve this problem and help ensure that negligent drivers are held accountable.
The bill, which is called Evan’s Law, would give law enforcement officers who respond to traffic accidents permission to use a device known as a textalyzer to determine if a driver was talking on, texting or otherwise engaging with a cellphone prior to an accident. Drivers who refuse to hand their cellphones over to be scanned would automatically have their driver’s licenses revoked.
While opponents of the bill have raised privacy concerns, proponents contend that such a law is long overdue and will be much more effective in combating the growing distracted driving epidemic that the country is facing. For the thousands of drivers, passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists who are injured by distracted drivers; textalyzer evidence could be submitted in personal injury and wrongful death cases and assist victims in recovering compensation and damages.
Source: Tech Times, “NYC Road Safety Bill Wants ‘Textalyzer’ App Legalized So Cops Can Scan Drivers’ Phones,” Menchie Mendoza, April 14, 2016