New technology may identify texting drivers

The phone habits of Connecticut drivers involved in accidents may be scrutinized more closely if a new technology that scans phones after an accident is approved for use by law enforcement. Called the textalyzer because it is based on the Breathalyzer, the device can see what apps were open at the time of the accident, whether people were scanning and swiping and what their actions were in the moments before the accident. The device also distinguishes whether the people were in hands-free mode. However, privacy advocates have raised concerns that access to phones could lead to civil liberties violations.

A New York man whose 19-year-old son was killed in an accident with a texting driver formed the advocacy group that is behind the development of the technology. While it is believed that one reason for a rise in traffic fatalities is phone distractions, it is difficult for law enforcement to identify this as a cause.

After the man’s son was killed, the driver responsible initially told police that he had drifted off behind the wheel. Although the phone was in the vehicle, police could not check it without a search warrant. Only after following up with a subpoena six months later was the father able to identify texting as the cause of the accident.

People who are injured in an accident in which another driver is at fault might expect adequate compensation from the insurance company to cover their medical expenses, vehicle repair and lost wages from work. However, this may not always be the case. If the insurance company’s compensation offer is too low and an attorney cannot negotiate a higher offer, the injured victims may want to file a civil lawsuit.