Updated on February 3rd, 2021 at 10:49 pm
Do you text, check Facebook or catch up on e-mails while driving? Most of us live busy lives these days and every minute counts. It may seem like a time saver to catch up with our social lives and important emails while traveling from one place to the next, but this is never a good idea. Not only is distracted driving dangerous, it may also land you in serious trouble if you cause a vehicle accident and your distracted driving can be proven to be a contributing factor.
Incident Increase from Year to Year
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that distracted driving is increasing, leading to an 8% increase in road fatalities in 2015. In fact, in 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Many believe distracted driving should be treated in the same manner as drunk driving. Both driving behaviors have the potential for devastating consequences, including the loss of life.
The founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Candace Lightner, has formed a new group to bring awareness to this new trend brought on by technological advances. The Partnership for Distraction-Free Driving is attempting to discourage distracted driving by bringing awareness and encouraging social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter to discourage multitasking by drivers.
Is Textalyzer the Future?
Legislators and public health experts are hoping in the future to treat distracted driving like drunk driving, and development of a new device called the Textalyzer is in the works. The Textalyzer would be the digital equivalent of the Breathalyzer. An officer arriving on the scene of a crash would be able to connect to the drivers’ phones and retrieve any recent activity. The device’s technology would be able to distinguish whether the driver used the phone with a hands-free device or if they were using it to text, take selfies, update a Facebook status, or another forbidden activity. Failure to hand over a phone would lead to similar repercussions of refusing a Breathalyzer.
Will the Law Reflect the Breathalyzer?
The Textalyzer Bill has a long way to go before becoming a law, the most notable issue being privacy concerns. Felix W. Ortiz, a sponsor of the bill, ensures officers would not have access to specific content of any emails or messaging, but would simply give them a way to see if the device was being used. The bill’s authors compare the concept to “implied consent” used for the Breathalyzer, which means drivers consent to a Breathalyzer when they obtain a driver’s license, and failure to take one when asked may result in a license suspension.