New High Tech Way To Catch Distracted Drivers

You have heard of a breathalyzer but likely have not yet heard about a “textalyzer”, the newest technology which can be used to incriminate distracted drivers. The technology determines if you have been using your electronic device illegally on the road.

The New York legislature is considering allowing police officers to use textalyzers to break into your cell phones and see if you wrote or read texts or emails, accessed apps, browsed the web or otherwise used your phone within a short time of a car stop or accident. The bill has passed out of one committee and is pending in another. Given Governor’s long-term crusade against distracted driving and prior successful efforts to strengthen distracted driver laws, passage of this bill seems like a fait accompli.

If approved, I expect police officers responding to accidents to routinely obtain this data as part of their work to generate a police report. Such data can likely be used against the offending driver in a court case. I can also see this technology being used as part of a routine traffic stops and used by police officers during traffic trials for violating VTL 1225c and 1225d. The law would make it much easier to secure this data and avoid the arduous task of obtaining a search warrant.

So here is how it works. A police officer simply attaches a cord to a motorist’s device and connects it to the textalyzer. Upon the tap of one button and in under 2 minutes, the device will show the device’s last activities with time stamps. Specifically, the textalyzer displays a summary of what apps on the phone were open and in use, as well as screen taps and swipes. Addressing privacy concerns, manufacturers of the device claim that it will not download content.

This will be an effective enforcement tool. It will also make it very difficult to beat traffic tickets issued for illegally using a cell phone or electronic device.

If it reduces distracted driving, then I am all for it. There are way to many accidents, injuries and casualties from motorists stupidly using their devices while driving. PLEASE put the away while behind the wheel!!


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6 Comments. Leave new

  • Hello . It’s Inez again . I have a question about speeding ticket in New York . Here the story . I was in the car driving not going fast just the same as all cars around me . All of the sudden police officer runs to the road from no where and ask as to pull over to the side and claims we were going 24 miles over the speed limit on the street. First of all he wouldn’t even talk to as a civil person and was very rude . He gave a ticket . As I said I didn’t even see a police car that was blocked on that street because other cars were blocking it . So how possible he could of saw my car while there was lots of cars on the road . He claimed radar show we were speeding . The ticket is hand written and when I got a good at it later I found few things wrong with it . 1) my zip code is wrong, one of the numbers even so he had my license 2) my plate number very clearly shows one number is wrong , the street where I got pulled over not clear if someone wants to read it , I only know what street since I know where it happened, the precinct number not written and the whole ticket not written accurately . Since points on license are involved I’m very concerned . What’s your opinion on this . Any way to fight it . Thank you .

    • Inez,

      Speeding with other cards and the officer being rude are not valid defenses to a speeding ticket. Further the wrong zip code and license plate number (and omitted precinct number) do not render your ticket fatally defective. The illegible place of occurrence might help.

      My advice is to plead not guilty and fight this NYC speeding ticket as this is the only way to possibly obtain a more favorable outcome.

      Matthew Weiss

  • Eugene Falik
    June 28, 2017 2:00 pm

    And how will a police officer determine WHO operated a device?

    But leaving aside who operated the device, and the question of hands free operation (note that 311 does not permit hands free operation to report roadway problems), there are a few minor questions of federal law.

    First, 47 U.S. Code 333 prohibits interference with use of devices licensed by the Federal Communications Commission. More important, the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution would seem to require search warrants “particularly describing” the items to be seized.

    And the Supreme Court has held that there is a constitutional right to due process that prohibits laws that are overly broad. The current enactment prohibits the use of wrist watches as well as cell phones without any evidence that either is a particular hazard. Indeed, available federal (NHTSA) data suggest that many other items that are perfectly lawful are far greater dangers to a driver’s concentration. Including operation of a vehicles HVAC controls!

    I suggest that it is far past time for these issues to be litigated.

    Traffic safety would be better served by prosecution of government agencies that deliberately violate the Vehicle and Traffic Law and the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The Port Authority would be a good place to start. Take a look at Or or even

    • Eugene Falik,

      Nice to see you posting again. It’s been a while.

      Don’t put the cart before the horse. We do not know how the Legislature will write up a law allowing textalyzer devices. Once we see the language, then I will be in a better position to comment on its legality, constitutionality and functionality.


      Matthew Weiss

  • But what about hands-free texting, like via Apple Car Play/Siri, or Android Auto? Will this detection device account for that, and how would a driver prove they used a hands-free in-car service?


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