Breathalyzer for texting: ‘textalyzer’ could help police nail distracted drivers

New York state lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow police to use a so-called “textalyzer” device, similar to the way law enforcement uses a breathalyzer, to determine if someone in an accident was using their phone at the time of a crash.

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Under the New York legislation, if a driver refuses to hand over their phone for a check at a traffic stop or accident scene, they would not face charges, but could have their license suspended, according to the Associated Press.

There are privacy concerns, but the company creating the textalyzer, Cellebrite, said the device would not reveal the contents on the phone, just whether a driver was using it at the time of an accident.

>> Related: Texting while driving: Surprising number in one age group says its OK

While almost all states ban texting while driving, and more than a dozen bar all hand-held devices, the National Safety Council estimated distracted driving still killed as many as 10,000 Americans last year.

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