New "Textalyzer" would allow officers to see if you're using your phone while driving

Posted at 10:05 PM, Apr 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-30 08:31:58-04

Can you imagine a breathalyzer for your phone? That is the latest tool being developed for officers aimed at cracking down on distracted driving and it is already getting noticed in our state.   

The way it works is an officer could pull you over on the road or maybe you are involved in an accident. If the officer suspects the violation or crash could have been caused by a distraction, they can use the so-called 'textalyzer' to scan your phone for typing and swiping in 90 seconds without a warrant. 

"People are going to know - if I do it, I'm going to get caught and there's going to be a penalty," said Marc Lamber.   

Lamber is an attorney and legal analyst with Fennemore Craig, P.C. here in Phoenix.  He tells ABC15, this technology could be the turning point in curbing crashes.

The 'textalyzer' is currently making its way through the New York State Legislature. If someone were to deny a 'textalyzer,' just like they would a breathalyzer - they could see their license revoked. 

Ben Lieberman is a New York resident who came up with the idea of the 'textalyzer' after his 19-year-old son was killed by a distracted driver. 

"Browsing the web, playing candy crush... it's not going to show up on a phone record," said Ben Lieberman. 

However, the concept is also raising concern.  

"If they're getting that information, what more are they getting that's contained on your phone," Lamber asked.

Those against the technology argue it could be a massive intrusion of privacy. 

"The company that's doing it, Cellebrite, is the same company in San Bernardino that was looking at breaking in, hacking into an iPhone," Lamber explained. 

Our state's new distracted driving law, which was signed just days ago, only focuses on teens or new drivers by banning the use of hand-held devices. 

It is because of Arizona's track record on implementing these types of laws that Lamber believes, even if the 'textalyzer' does make it to the streets of New York, it will probably still take some time before it starts catching drivers here.