Texting while driving is dangerous – we all know that. In fact, it is illegal in 47 states. In Florida, Florida Statute 316.305 is known as the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law.” But, is there a way law enforcement can catch those who text while driving ? Maybe, it is called the “textalyzer.”
The textalyzer is a device the size of an electronic tablet that could be used as a tool in the fight against distracted driving such as texting and driving or using your electronics while driving. Like a breathalyzer, the textalyzer would be used by police after a car accident. The device would allow officers to download information from the driver’s phone and track every tap and click made in the minutes beforehand. Police could use it following a car accident to determine whether the driver was distracted by a phone.
Right now, Florida’s law permits a user’s billing records for a wireless communications device or the testimony of or written statements from appropriate authorities receiving such messages may be admissible as evidence in any proceeding to determine whether the driver violated the texting while driving law, but this is certainly not instantaneous information and could take months to obtain.
NBC’s TODAY looked into how the textalyzer works. They visited the headquarters of Cellebrite, the company that developed the device, to test out the technology. In a blocked off parking lot, the reporter sent a text on his phone. He also sent a message on Whatsapp and scrolled through Facebook. He then took a phone call. When he was finished, he handed over his phone to Cellebrite’s representative who plugged the phone into the textalyzer, which began downloading information about what apps had just been used. The textalyzer showed that that the reporter “opened WhatsApp at 2:45. There’s several Facebook activity. You received an incoming call at 2:59 and you sent an SMS at 3 o’clock.”
That minute-by-minute report can be very helpful to the investigating officer of a car accident. However, some believe that it is too intrusive. They argue that police should have to get a warrant for that kind of access. Cellebrite’s position that that the device is not getting anything about what was said in the texts or who it was said to. It just records the touches and swipes.
According to NBC TODAY, the textalyzer is still a prototype and Cellebrite says police won’t have the device until states pass legislation allowing it. In the meantime, texting while driving will likely continue with little way to instantaneously confirm that the violator broke the law.
Drive safely and watch out for those who don’t!
Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured in car accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other types of personal injury matters. He is a named partner at the Tampa Bay law firm of Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or complete the form on this page or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.