Texting while driving continues to be a big problem on the roadways today. Over 1.6 million accidents are caused by drivers who get distracted while driving by using their cell phone, and over 6,000 people are killed in those accidents each year on average. The fight against cell phone usage and texting while driving have lead the New York State legislature to consider legislation that will make texting and driving a crime comparable to drunk driving. If the legislation passes, here is what will happen if you are involved in a car accident while texting on your cell phone.
The police will arrive on at the crash scene and will request that you hand over you cell phone so they can inspect it with a textalyser. A textalyser is a device that connects to the operating system on your cell phone to determine if you were using your cell phone in a way that violates New York state driving laws. New York allows drivers to talk on a cell phone using hand-free devices but prohibits cell phone usage when you have to use your hands while driving to activate the phone.
Refusing the Textalyser
You will have the right to refuse to hand over your phone so it can be textalysed, but the legislation, much like the legislation authorizing breathalyzers to be used on suspected drunk drivers, will allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to automatically suspend your driver's license for six months or more.
Status of Legislation
The legislation governing the use of textalysers is facing pushback from people who are concerned about privacy rights. Normally, when police want to download information from a cell phone, they are required to get a warrant signed by a judge before they can access the information on the phone. This legislation bypasses the requirement to get a warrant and that has lead civil and constitutional rights experts to come out in opposition of the textalyser. The main concern is that the police will also have the capability to snoop around on your phone and invade your privacy.
As of June 2016, the argument over the limits of the textalyser and how police can use it are still ongoing, but once a compromise is reached, it appears the legislation will pass through the legislature. There is no word yet on whether Mario Cuomo, the governor of New York, will sign the legislation if passed by the legislature.
The textalyser can have a profound change in how fault is assessed in a traffic accident. The effect the change will have on you will depend on whether you were using a cell phone at the time of the accident. If you were a victim of a crash caused by a distracted driver using a cell phone, you will be able to better prove that you were not the one at fault when the accident occurred. However, if you were using your cell phone, a textalyser will help ensure you are held accountable for the crash regardless if it was really your fault or not. This will become yet another reason why you should not text and drive.
For more information, contact a car crash attorney, like one at The Jaklitsch Law Group.Share
7 June 2016
When you are involved in a messy car accident, things can get complicated fast. In addition to proving who was at fault, you might also have to worry about healing. However, you don't have to endure long phone calls and complicated insurance paperwork on your own. Hiring an attorney is the key to remaining strong during the aftermath of a car accident. As you think about your own situation, try to figure out if you can do things on your own. If you feel like you need a little help, don't be afraid to talk with an attorney. The information on this website should help you to decide how legal counsel can help you.