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Published On: Mon, Oct 3rd, 2016

Could a Textalyzer Impact Your Car Accident Claim?

New York lawmakers are considering whether to arm law enforcement officers with a new device that carries the promise of preventing distracted driving accidents on the state’s streets and highways. The device is called a “textalyzer.”

Just like police use a breathalyzer to determine whether a person has been driving while impaired by alcohol, they can use a textalyzer to analyze a driver’s phone and determine whether he or she has been driving while texting, e-mailing or doing “anything else that is forbidden under New York’s hands-free driving laws,” The New York Times reports.

If the measure gets past several legislative hurdles that are still in its way, it would make New York the first state in the country to adopt use of the textalyzer, according to the newspaper.

Use of these devices could also end up playing an important role in car accident cases in which distracted driving is a suspected cause.

What Is New York’s Current Approach to Texting While Driving?

New York currently has one of the strictest anti-distracted driving laws in the country.

Under state law, drivers are prohibited from using hand-held cell phones to text, talk, e-mail or engage in other related uses when they are behind the wheel. In New York City, taxi drivers are barred from using cell phones in any fashion, including hand-held and hands-free devices.

The fines for violating this law can range from a $50 fine for a first offense to a $450 fine if a person has committed a third violation within an 18-month period.

You can read more about the state’s anti-distracted driving laws by going to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles website.

Photo/Ed Brown via wikimedia commons

Photo/Ed Brown via wikimedia commons

What Is a Textalyzer?

Here is how a textalyzer works: When an officer arrives at the scene of an accident or pulls a person over, the officer would ask drivers for their cell phones.

Upon being granted permission, the officer would use the textalyzer to tap into the phones’ systems and determine whether the phone was recently used to text, open or send an e-mail, use an app, talk or do anything else that clearly would be a distraction when behind the wheel.

How Could the Textalyzer Impact New York Car Accident Claims?

If the textalyzer reveals that a driver used his or her phone in the moments before a crash, the driver could face more than a ticket and a fine.

The driver could also face more severe consequences if use of the phone contributed to or caused the accident.

New York is a “no-fault” state. This means that drivers turn to their own insurance to recover compensation after an accident and can receive those funds regardless of who was at fault for the crash.

However, New York allows drivers to step outside of the no-fault system when serious injuries result.

If a driver caused a crash because he or she was using a phone in an illegal way, and serious injuries resulted to another, that driver could be held liable for the victim’s damages, including compensation for pain, suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and more.

Keep Yourself and Others Safe on the Road

While anti-distracted driving technology such textalyzers and laws that allow police to use these devices could help to deter distracted driving, the reality is that the issue comes down to individuals making better decisions.

When you get behind the wheel, you have a responsibility to do your part to prevent distracted driving accidents. Please, put your phone away and focus on the road.

Author: Jacob Maslow

photo Oregon Department of Transportation

photo Oregon Department of Transportation

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