Police forces throughout the United States have been using the "Breathalyzer" device to identify, arrest and convict drunk drivers for decades. This has served to dramatically decrease deaths and injuries caused by drunk drivers, but now there's a new threat on the block: texting-while-driving. Whether this behavior involves commenting on Facebook or posting on Instagram through a smartphone or tablet while driving a vehicle, many believe that it's more dangerous than drunk driving because of the way texting-while-driving requires motorists to take their eyes off the road.
Police in Georgia have new technology to combat texting-while-driving, and they're calling it a "Textalyzer." Just like the Breathalyzer can identify people who were secretly drinking before getting behind the wheel, the Textalyzer can identify drivers who were secretly texting while operating their cars.
The problem of distracted driving is serious. Some estimates claim that nine people die and 1,000 are injured by distracted driving daily.
In one case where the Textalyzer was used, a family was desperate to know what caused a crash involving their sister. The truck driver who caused the accident admitted that he had been text messaging earlier while driving, but that he was not doing so at the time the crash happened. However, the Textalyzer shows what times a phone was being used, and if those times were during the accident, it's likely that smartphone use was the cause of the incident.
In the future, police believe that laws will apply to Textalyzer testing, just as they apply to Breathalyzers. Individuals who refuse the test could be subject to immediate arrest and license suspension. Textalyzer evidence could also support the victims of texting-while-driving to pursue financial damages in court.
Were you or a family member hurt in a motor vehicle collision caused by texting-while-driving? The law may be on your side in terms of holding the at-fault parties accountable for damages.