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New tool may discourage distracted driving

New York residents are likely familiar with the Breathalyzer tool. Now, authorities are turning to a device referred to as a "textalyzer" to help determine if an individual has been using his or her cell phone while behind the wheel. This tool would allow police to tap into a person's phone to determine if the use of a mobile device played a role in an accident or other violations.

It would work by allowing a police officer to attach a cord directly to the phone, and its owner wouldn't need to physically hand the phone to the officer during this process. It would then collect information such as the last time a text message was sent or if an app was open when a crash occurred. It would also detect if the phone was used legally through a hands-free device.

Currently, authorities or other interested parties usually need a warrant to access a phone or to access an individual's phone records. However, even if a person is able to get access to phone records, it may not disclose whether a person was using social media or other functions prior to a crash. Ultimately, this may make it difficult to enforce laws banning cell phone use while driving or prove that a driver was on his or her phone prior to an accident.

Those who are hurt in auto accidents may be able to pursue financial compensation. This may be possible if the accident was caused by a negligent driver. Legal counsel may prove that an accident was caused by driver negligence through the use of cell phone records, physical evidence or witness statements. Compensation may help pay for medical bills, help a victim recoup lost wages or make up for lost future earnings.

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