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New technology to identify cell usage before a crash

As traffic accidents rise, legislators have begun looking at ways to identify the factors involved in them. Minnesota drivers are likely aware that one of the recurring factors in fatal traffic collisions is illegal cellphone usage, which is very difficult to prove. However, there is technology being developed, which, if adopted, might make this much easier on authorities.

The new tool, called a textalyzer, would work in a very similar manner as a breathalyzer to establish if a driver had been using a cellphone illegally just before a crash. The device would be connected to the driver's cellphone via a cord, and then it would read the ways a cellphone was being used just before the collision, such as by identifying text messages with time stamps, as well as active social media apps and taps and swipes on the phone. It would also identify if a person was using the cellphone through a hands-free mode.

Supporters of the textalyzer are calling it a possible game changer when it comes to car accidents. For victims of crashes and their families, it is often difficult to prove that illegal cellphone usage played a role in the incident, but the textalyzer might be the tool that makes this easier. Critics, however, worry that the device might allow law enforcement too easy access to private information held in cellphones and lead to privacy and civil rights violations.

Traffic fatalities increased by 6 percent in 2016 over the previous year, and many observers believe that distraction is a primary factor. People who have been harmed in an accident caused by a driver who was distracted by a cellphone or another device may want to have the assistance of an experienced lawyer in seeking appropriate compensation for their losses.

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Law Office of Jeffrey A. Jones, PA

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