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Police May Soon Be Able To Determine If Cellphone Was In Use In NY Crashes

New York will research "Textalyzer" technology.
New York will research "Textalyzer" technology. Photo Credit: File

Hudson Valley law enforcement officials may soon have access to “Textalyzer” technology, which would allow police to determine in a cellphone was used in the moments before a crash.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed his Traffic Safety Committee to study the technology in an effort to possibly implement it in local municipalities. The Committee has been directed to speak with advocates who support the technology and other stakeholders to determine if it will be useful in the state.

According to Cuomo, the Committee will study the existing technology, and legal issues associated with the implementation of the technology, how it has been used elsewhere, any possible amendments needed to implement the technology in New York and “any other issues deemed necessary.

At the conclusion of the study, Cuomo will be issued a report and the next steps will be determined.

"Despite laws to ban cell phone use while driving, some motorists still continue to insist on texting behind the wheel -- placing themselves and others at substantial risk," Cuomo stated.

"This review will examine the effectiveness of using this new emerging technology to crack down on this reckless behavior and thoroughly evaluate its implications to ensure we protect the safety and privacy of New Yorkers.”

From 2011 to 2015, 12 people were killed in New York and 2,784 people were injured in cell phone crashes, according to a report by The Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research. During that stretch, more than one million tickets were issued for cell phone violations. 217,021 tickets were issued in 2015, down 16 percent from 2011.

Nearly 40 percent of those tickets were issued for drivers texting.

"New York has long been on the forefront of taking steps to protect drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians. We were the first state to adopt a motorcycle helmet law, a seat-belt law for front-seat passengers and a cell phone law,” New York State DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said.

“We want to make sure we consider all the impacts of the technology carefully to best ensure public safety and effective enforcement of the law. We try very hard to send the message that texting or talking on the phone while driving is a risk no one should be taking through both enforcement and educational campaigns."

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