The Textalyzer: An End to Texting Behind the Wheel?


ICBC has stated that distracted driving is the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in BC. The most common type of distractions while driving is electronic devices, aka cell phones. The worst type of distraction is one like texting while driving, where the driver takes their hand off the wheel, looks down to type and is mentally involved in the texting conversation. Research has shown texting while driving means you are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident.

Though the fine in BC is $167 dollars and 3 points on your license, an astounding 9,500 people are using electronic devices while driving at any given time, with 40% of those texting or emailing while driving. Since 2010, when penalties for using electronic devices behind the wheel began in BC, the measures are clearly not deterring enough.

In order to help combat distracted driving, legislators in New York are attempting to push through a bill that would hand police officers a new device that is the digital equivalent of the Breathalyzer — a roadside test called the Textalyzer. It would work like this: An officer arriving at the scene of a crash could ask for the phones of any drivers involved and use the Textalyzer to tap into the operating system to check for recent activity.

The technology could determine whether a driver had used the phone to text, email or do anything else that is forbidden under New York’s hands-free driving laws, which prohibit drivers from holding phones to their ear. Failure to hand over a phone could lead to the suspension of a driver’s license, similar to the consequences for refusing a Breathalyzer. It is hoped that this would work the same as the breathalyzer did in the ‘80s to combat drunk driving.

If you are a driver, passenger or pedestrian who has been injured in an accident because the driver was texting, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. John Mickelson Law Corporation can help you acquire financial assistance and medical treatment. Our ICBC lawyers have the experience needed to maximize your personal injury settlement. Call us at (604) 684-0040 for a free consultation in our Vancouver or Surrey offices.

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