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Device to identify distracted driving could make road safer

There are a number of tools available to police, investigators and legal representatives that allow them to identify the causes of fatal car crashes. For instance, a Breathalyzer device can measure a driver’s level of intoxication and provide evidence that he or she was drunk at the time of an accident.

According to reports, a similar device that measures distraction could soon make its way into police toolkits. The device is called a "textalyzer," and it would allow police to determine whether a driver was using his or her phone in the seconds before a fatal crash. 

The device works by processing the last activities performed on a person’s phone. It shows a timestamp of when a particular function or app was open and in use, which can indicate that a person was distracted by the phone if the timestamp lines up with the time of a car crash. Developers say that the textalyzer does not download information and can be tailored to align with state cellphone laws.

Supporters of this technology, which is still in development, say that it could completely change the game in terms of identifying and holding drivers accountable for distracted driving. They compare it to the Breathalyzer, which made it much easier for police to test for intoxication.

Critics, on the other hand, argue that letting police plug the device into someone’s phone to collect data could threaten people’s privacy and civil rights.

States have yet to pass any laws permitting use of this device, but interest is certainly high across the country.

If it is ultimately approved for use here in Georgia, the textalyzer has the potential to dramatically change how fatal car crashes are investigated. Instead of having to navigate the complexities of the legal system to secure warrants for phone records, police would be able determine if a driver was distracted in a matter of minutes.

Even though this device has yet to be authorized, there are still other ways to confirm which dangerous behaviors, including distraction, contributed to a fatal accident. Should you have questions about collecting evidence in the wake of a fatal accident, it would be wise to consult an attorney.

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