New “Textalyzer” Could Combat Distracted Driving Car Accidents in Indianapolis

One state is taking a new step to combat the texting while driving epidemic, which has been the cause of thousands of unnecessary and ultimately avoidable car accidents across America. Although texting while driving has been banned by 45 states and the District of Columbia, and Oklahoma recently enacted a bill to ban it, and the fact that tactics – such as public service campaigns, which convey the message about how dangerous it is – have been implemented, drivers still continue to take the chance of putting lives at risk. The New York Times reports that the state of New York is attempting a new way of dealing with this prevalent and dangerous behavior behind the wheel called a Textalyzer.


Who Is Driving When Cellphones Are in Use?


While we hear the term “texting while driving” often, there are various behaviors that can be lumped into this category of dangerous driver behaviors. People are not only texting on their cell phones while they are mitigating the roadways. According to the New York Times, Braun Research and AT&T conducted a survey in which motorists confessed that they are also using apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, as well as snapping selfies of themselves and shooting videos while they are behind the wheel.


The survey was conducted by telephone by Braun Research and polled 2,067 drivers who own smartphones. Results revealed that 27 percent of drivers confessed to using Facebook while driving. 14 percent of motorists also admitted to using Twitter in the driver’s seat. A startling revelation: 30 percent of the people who confessed to posting to Twitter while driving disclosed that they did it “all the time.” One in 10 drivers divulged that they participate in video chatting while driving, 17 percent take selfies, 33 percent email, more than 10 percent use Instagram and Snapchat, and 28 percent surf the web.


These statistics do not seem to be decreasing or getting any better, despite efforts to campaign against the behaviors. While the percentage of accident increase is lower than 10 percent each year, texting while driving – otherwise known as distracted driving – accidents have increased each year, demonstrating that the epidemic is getting more serious and more dangerous. This leads us to one question: Why?

Many have assumptions, guesses, and possible reasoning why, despite the efforts to educate drivers about the dangers, texting while driving accidents are growing in numbers. In the AT&T survey, people admitted that they were addicted to their social media habits and evidence suggests that social media and cell phone use is habit-forming. In addition, drivers tend to overestimate their ability to multitask while they are behind the wheel.


Public Service Message from AT&T


The cell phone service company, AT&T, has been an avid promoter of safe driving regarding cell phones, having invested heavily in campaigns to discourage distracted driving. One of AT&T’s campaigns that you might be familiar with is the “It Can Wait” initiative. The company also plans to expand the message to discourage not just texting while driving, but also using social media and other smartphone usage while navigating the roadways.


However, these campaigns cannot be relied on completely to diminish the risky behaviors of drivers today. In addition to educating drivers, lawmakers need to step in and enforce the laws with tough consequences. New York is the first state to take a step in the right direction in the war against distracted drivers on their cell phones.


Textalyzer – Proving Drivers Were Texting While Driving


Although technology is the main culprit behind the problem of texting while driving, technology might also provide a solution. The digital device New York lawmakers are proposing to provide to police officers was referred to by the New York Times as “the digital equivalent of the Breathalyzer.” It would be conducted on the roadside, at the scene of a crash.


Here is how it would work: When the officer arrives at the scene of the car accident, he or she would ask all of the drivers involved for their cell phones. The officer would then use the Textalyzer to tap into the cell phones’ operating systems and find out if any recent activity had occurred. If a driver fails to hand their phone over to the officer, their license could be automatically suspended, just like the consequence for refusing to participate in the Breathalyzer test.


New York has a hands-free law, which means that drivers are prohibited from holding their cell phones up to their ears. In addition, hands-free laws forbid drivers texting, using email, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or anything else that could distract their driving. The Textalyzer could quickly and easily determine whether a driver broke these laws and help to resolve who was at fault for the accident. Hopefully, Indiana starts to consider this new technology, as well.


Textalyzer Still Facing Hurdles


Unfortunately, the Textalyzer, although it would be an excellent tool for reducing texting and using social media while driving, is still facing hurdles in the legislation arena. Privacy concerns have been brought up, despite the fact that the Textalyzer would not provide the contents of texts or emails on the cell phones, but rather, just the activity and times the cell phone was used. New York is hoping to be the first state to implement the Textalyzer, just as it was the first state to start the hands-free driving law, and hopefully the rest of the states, including Indiana, follow suit.


Similar to how drunk driving laws and consequences have gotten tougher, reducing the incidences, the repercussions and laws for texting while driving must get more vigorous. The Textalyzer, if and when legislation is passed, could be the key to making drivers more aware of their actions. It could also be the ticket to decreasing the unfortunate and unnecessary distracted driving car accident statistics.


Distracted driving is careless and it is a conscious decision that people make, despite knowing how dangerous it can be. If you or someone you love has been injured because of a distracted driver, you need to reach out to an Indianapolis car accident attorney who can help you secure the compensation that is owed to you for all of your pain and suffering. Contact the law offices of Rowe & Hamilton today for a free consultation.

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