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Are "Textalyzers" Actually Happening?

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By now, you should know that texting and driving is just about one of the worst decisions you can make when getting behind the wheel. It’s up there with drinking and driving as one of the most reckless distracted behaviors.

Well, turns out that just as they enforce drunk driving laws with the help of breathalyzers, police are also now considering using “textalyzers.” These devices are aimed at combating texting and driving, using innovative tracking methods to check the last time a driver used their phone.

The textalyzer resembles an iPad and plugs directly into a smartphone, where it’s able to detect any sort of activity, including texting. Basically, if you’ve spent your recent time at the wheel with your phone in your hand, the police will know.

textalyzer by cellebrite

Image source: NBC

Currently, New Jersey is one of a few states whose law enforcement officials are considering implementing the new tool. The city of Chicago, Illinois is passing legislation on the matter as well.

With a possible change coming, there are mixed opinions and reactions to the introduction of the device.

According to CBS Philly, some find the device intrusive, and the ACLU is included in that category.

“Once you allow the intrusion into that device, you really allow intrusion into much of your personal life. And all of this is being done on the streets without any warrant, without any judicial oversight,” Ed Yohnka, of the Illinois ACLU, said.

The manufacturer, Cellebrite, clarified that the device does not extract or keep record of personal information while in use, which could help quell concerns of basic privacy rights.

Conversely, others said that it could be a necessary deterrent, another more concrete and tangible reason for drivers to obey the law and remain accountable for their dangerous distracted driving habits.

And to be clear, it is a crime worth being accountable for. Texting and driving is incredibly dangerous and accounts for a quarter of all accidents in the United States, according to Edgar Snyder & Associates. Whether or not they’re being caught, 75% of drivers surveyed admit to using their phones while driving. That said, 94% of the population would like a ban on texting while driving.

Hopefully, that portion of the population can put their words to action and keep their phones away while hitting the road. If not, the police could soon find a way to make sure that they’re obeying the law and staying safe.

Krista Doyle