Could the ‘textalyser’ be coming to the UK? New device that can tell if motorists have been texting while driving could save lives

An answer to outing ‘texting’ motorists could be on its way to the UK. The ‘textalyser’, as it’s nicknamed, could help police determine whether a motorist may have been using their phone in the lead up to a crash.

Texting while driving is said to be as dangerous as drink-driving - and now it could soon be detected at the roadside, too

Texting while driving is said to be as dangerous as drink-driving – and now it could soon be detected at the roadside, too

Despite the increase in mobile phone penalties since March 2017, police have since fined over 27,000 motorists for illegally using a mobile device while driving.

In a crackdown on texting drivers, experts in New York state are developing a device to help identity if a motorist involved in an accident was using their phone behind the wheel.

Dubbed the textalyser, due to its similarity to the breathalyser, the technology allows police to determine whether a motorist had been texting, emailing or otherwise using their mobile phone prior to a collision.

The legislation proposed for New York, would result in any motorists involved in an accident needing to submit their mobile phone for roadside testing from a textalyser to identify whether the driver was using it moments before the crash.

The textalyser has been criticised by civil liberty groups over concerns it would breach personal privacy, raising that police would have to obtain a warrant before searching through someone’s phone.

However, the textalyser would keep all personal information, such as conversations, contacts and photos, private. It would only analyse metadata on the mobile to check whether the driver has physically clicked or swiped the phone during the time around the accident.

If further analysis is required, such as to confirm the original findings or whether any usage was via hands-free technology, a warrant may be needed.

The technology is currently being developed by Cellebrite, a firm specialising in mobile forensics.

What do you think? A good idea or a potential invasion of privacy? Tell us in the comments below.


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