If you spend any time in a car these days, you’ve probably noticed someone around you on the road driving and texting — at a stoplight or even as they pass you on the highway.
And in fact, you may have noticed this a lot — since about 67% of drivers admit to ‘continued use of their cell phones while driving, despite knowledge of the inherent danger to themselves and others on the road.’
Distracted driving has become an increasingly serious problem in the U.S., leading to an increase in auto accidents last year.
A new effort to stop drivers from texting
But what if drivers were required to submit their phone for a test to determine if they were texting before being involved in a crash? Would that prevent people from using their phone behind the wheel? That’s the goal of a new bill in New York, along with a new device being called the ‘textalyzer.’
Just like a Breathalyzer is used to check a driver’s blood-alcohol level to determine whether he or she was drinking before a crash, the textalyzer technology is designed to determine whether a driver’s phone was in use just before or during a crash, according to Ars Technica.
Here’s how it would work: under the proposed legislation, drivers involved in any type of crash would be required to hand over their phones to police for analysis by the textalyzer.
Read more: Apps that help prevent texting and driving
The first-of-its-kind legislation would amend the current law so that drivers give ‘implied consent’ for “determining whether the operator of a motor vehicle was using a mobile telephone or portable electronic device at or near the time of the accident or collision, which provides the grounds for such testing.”
The proposed law also aims to ensure that a driver’s privacy isn’t violated in the process.
According to the legislation, “No such electronic scan shall include the content or origin of any communication, game conducted, image or electronic data viewed on a mobile telephone or a portable electronic device.’
So what happens if you used your phone, but did so hands-free? Ars Technica says a search warrant would likely be required in order to obtain more details about information gathered during the test.
And if a driver refuses to hand over the phone after an accident, their license could be suspended or revoked.