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Josh RultenbergJul 27, 2017, 2:00 pmJul 28, 2017, 6:01 am

‘Textalyzer’ could determine if driver was using mobile device during car crash

Proposed legislation for device aims to stop texting and driving

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FORT MONTGOMERY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is looking to go high-tech to stop texting and driving with an experimental device that acts like a breathalyzer for texting called a 'textalyzer.'

Six years ago, Chappaqua teen Evan Lieberman was killed in a car accident off Route- 6 by the Bear Mountain Bridge. His father Ben wants authorities to get tougher on texting while driving.

At the time, the driver said he fell asleep but later was found to have been texting and driving. Fast forward and Gov. Cuomo is now pushing a device which could find out on its own if your phone was in your hands.

From 2011 to 2015, 12 people were killed and close to 3,000 were injured in cellphone-related crashes.

Yet a possible new law could cut into those numbers and would require drivers involved in a crash to give their phones up to police. Investigators would then use a 'textalyzer,' which plugs into the driver's phone and scan logs and collect data.

It's called a 'textalyzer' because it works just like a breathalyzer would for measuring a person's alcohol intake. Under the proposed bill, if drivers refuse to hand over their phones, they would lose their license just like a suspected drunk driver would if they refused a sobriety test.

The 'textalyzer' is far from being put into practice for several reasons. First, the technology isn't quite finished, according to Cellebrite, the company who develops the device. Second, privacy and civil liberties groups are questioning if the machine would violate your rights.

Some experts are skeptical about the latter because they think it could access more authorities should have, like your personal information. However, if such a device would be made available to law enforcement, maybe it would save lives and prevent crashes like the one that took place near off Route-6 six years ago.

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