Building a case for the ‘Textalyzer’

Distracted driving campaigns and app blockers aim to get teens to put down their smartphones while driving, and Washington and Oregon graduated drivers license laws bar new drivers from using cellphones altogether. 

But, it seems we’re at a point where the stats and stories on the news aren’t getting through. Across the board, a staggering 7 in 10 people engage in some sort of smartphone activity while driving.

What’s the solution? A recent article in the New York Times reports that New York lawmakers support the idea for a roadside test called the Textalyzer. Let’s say a driver is pulled over. An officer would use the technology to tap into a smartphone to check for any recent activity (texts, emails, and other use) – the digital equivalent to the breathalyzer.

While the idea has some privacy hurdles to overcome, organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Partnership for Distraction-Free Driving say improving road safety calls for radical changes.

Aligning the consequences of distracted driving to those of drunk driving is one approach to stressing the dangers. What are your thoughts on the Textalyzer?

by  Sharlyn Petit

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