Can Technology Help Prevent Texting-Related Car Accidents?

Lawmakers in New York and a few other U.S. cities and states are looking into the possibility of allowing police to use a new device that can test whether a cell phone was in use in the moments leading up to a crash. The "textalyzer," a tablet that police officers could sync with a driver’s phone, provides a log of recently-opened apps, screen taps, and swipes. For example, if a cell phone user has sent a text -- or a Facebook or WhatsApp message-- the device will produce a time stamp and basic usage information, but no personal data.

Words on the street:

  • The "textalyzer" is expected to be available from Israeli technology company Cellebrite in 2017, says National Public Radio.
  • Between 2011 and 2015, 12 people were killed and 2,784 people were injured in cell phone-related crashes in the state of New York, according to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research.
  • Fifty years ago, about half of all U.S. traffic fatalities were linked to drunk driving. Today, that number is closer to 30 percent, due in large part to the use of breathalyzers, which measure blood alcohol levels.
More Info: Smithsonian magazine

Discussion Comments


Should not have been invented.

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