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Is "Textalizer" in the Future for Drivers Who Text While Driving and Cause Collisions?

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 19-Apr-2016

Picture of Salvatore J. Zambri

Posted by Salvatore J, Zambri, founding member and partner.

Because distracted driving has become such a safety issue, the state of New York has proposed controversial legislation that would require drivers who have been involved in collisions to allow their phones to be roadside tested for texting just before a crash by use of a device called a "textalyzer." Similar to the long-time use of roadside Breathalyzer testing for blood-alcohol levels, the new textalyzer technology is intended to assist authorities investigating crashes to determine whether those invloved were driving distracted. In order to avoid Fourth Amendment right to privacy issues, the new technology is supposed only determine whether the phone was in use prior to a collision but be able to keep conversations, contacts, numbers, photos, and application data private.

The proposed legislation was introduced by the founder of an organization called Distracted Operators Risk Casualties (D.O.R.C.), with a mission of educating the public, advocating for enforcement and fighting for legislation against texting and driving. According to the founder, "When people were held accountable for drunk driving, that's when positive change occurred. It's time to recognize that distracted driving is a similar impairment, and should be dealt with in a similar fashion. This is a way to address people who are causing damage."

According to CDC statistics, "Each day in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver," representing approximately 20% of the collisions caused by distracted driving.

As more crashes are related to distracted driving, more ideas are needed to determine how best to deter this very dangerous practice. While some of those ideas will be controversial, such as the "textalyzer" idea, there can be no denial that the problem is very real. Please drive safely and sensibly. No call or text is worth killing or injuring yourself or someone else.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association recently named him "Trial Lawyer of the Year". Super Lawyers recently named him among the "Top Ten" lawyers in the Metro Area (out of more than 80,000 attorneys). He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 100″ lawyers in the entire metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best-most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners. His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA. Mr. Zambri has also been acknowledged as one of "The Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers (2014 edition) and has been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (2014) - national publications that honor the top lawyers in America.

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