NEW YORK “TEXTALYZER”

New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee has been studying “textalyzer” technology since July, 2016.  The technology has the potential to determine if a driver had been using their phone in the moments leading up to a car accident.

According to an article in The Journal News on September 21, 2017 by Natasha Vaughn “this year New Yorkers set an all-time record for seatbelt use. But many of those same motorists who are saving lives by buckling up are still texting behind the wheel putting countless lives at risk” said Terri Egan , Executive Deputy Commissioner of New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.  Texting while driving has become increasingly perilous on the roadways.  New York has bolstered laws to crack down on the habit between 2011 and 2015.  678 people died from distracted driving car accidents in New York.  During the same time, 2,784 people were injured as a result of cellphone related car crashes.  In 2015, New York issued 217,021 tickets for cellphone violations.  39% of these tickets were for texting while driving.

In 2015, New York increased the penalty for texting while driving from 3 points to 5 points and made it up to $200 fine for the first offense.  Young drivers under 21 with a junior license can get their license suspended for a first offense.  The ongoing study of textalyzer technology has been looking into variations of the product.

The increasing tickets are making insurers send distracted driving to go to simulators, to public events and prompting lawmakers to consider new technologies to crack down of texting and other behaviors that take drivers’ eyes off the road.  According to an article in The Journal News on October 4, 2017 by Garcia, about one in five fatal and personal injury crashes in New York between 2011 and 2015 were attributed to distracted driving as a factor.  In many cases, the person is texting but in other cases it would be that they are trying to send an e-mail or doing something simple as changing music on an I Pod or fiddling with the phone to engage the GPS.

Crashes involving distracted driving remain constant over the past 5 years of data and skyrocketed ticketing for texting.  NY’s ticketing for violating NY’s hand held cellphone laws jumped from less than 4% for texting in 2015.  Westchester Policy also saw an increase in texting tickets from 167 in 2015 to 480 in 2016.  Police officers relay on telltale signs of distraction when deciding which drivers to stop.  “The officers tell me you can see somebody’s head go down toward their lap which also leads to another violation of failure to maintain a lane”.

According to the article, more law enforcement may be on the way as indicated above.  The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee has been studying “textalyzer” technology which has the potential to determine if a driver had been using the cellphone leading to a car accident.  People don’t think it necessarily applies to them.  They think they’re better at texting than other people and therefore, they think an accident can’t happen to them.  A ticket for distracted driving affects a driver’s ability to get insurance and influences the cost of insurance premiums.  Even drivers who aren’t getting distracted driving tickets are bearing the cost for this activity in their insurance premiums.

If you, or someone you know, have been injured as a result of a distracted driver using a cell phone use or texting, call the Law Office of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC at (914) 288-0800 or on the web at White Plains-Personal Injury Lawyer or e-mail us at djrobolaw@aol.com.