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Texting while driving crackdown: New “Textalyzer” tech will catch violators red handed

Be honest: Do you text or use your phone while you drive? What about your kids? Do they have bad driving habits? We all know that it only takes a second for an accident to happen and yet distracted driving is still a major cause of thousands of accidents each year.

Lawmakers and law enforcement have tried many different tactics in the hopes of decreasing the death toll. The latest tech-related solution comes in the form of a Breathalyzer for your phone. Instead of detecting alcohol consumption, it detects phone use.

It’s called the “Textalyzer.” Police would plug this device into your phone and after about a minute it will tell them if you were texting, sending emails, surfing the internet or using your phone in any way before a crash occurred. Cellebrite, a tech company in Israel, said this technology should be ready to use in a few months.


People who support this new technology say that the Textalyzer would not give police access to the content on your phone. It would detect use without showing them your private texts, emails, pictures or browsing history.

Ben Lieberman, who lost his son in a texting-while-driving accident, said the device would be the perfect balance between public safety and privacy. “A Breathalyzer doesn’t tell you where you were drinking, or whether it was vodka or Jack Daniels, just that you were drinking,” Leiberman said.


People who oppose the Textalyzer say that it’s unnecessary because police can already use search warrants to find evidence of a crime on your phone. If the police pull you over because they suspect you were texting, this device would scan your phone right on the spot and without a warrant.

Rainey Reitman, an advocate for digital rights and privacy, said she’s not convinced that the Textalyzer won’t violate our right to privacy. “I am extremely nervous about handing a cellphone to a law enforcement officer and allowing them in any way to forensically analyze it.”

What’s next?

The government in New York state is currently reviewing this technology. Governor Cuomo’s Traffic Safety Committee will listen to supporters, opponents, and legal experts before they give a report to the governor. A bill about the Textalyzer was proposed but it did not pass.

If the technology and a new bill garner enough support then New York could be the first state to use the Textalyzer. Do you think police should be able to use this device? Will it keep us safe or invade our privacy. Let me know in the comments section below.

Tips for Distracted Drivers

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Use this tool on your smartphone to prevent distracted driving

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