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Device may identify drivers whose phone use causes crashes

It may be possible to determine whether North Carolina drivers involved in accidents were using their phones at the time if adoption of a new technology called the "textalyzer" becomes widespread. This device can be attached to a phone and lets law enforcement know what the last actions of the driver were. While safety advocates have praised the device, privacy advocates are concerned about its impact on civil liberties. However, a man who demonstrated the device for reporters and lawmakers in New York says that it only collects very limited information. The device can also tell whether a person is using the phone hands-free.

The "textalyzer" was developed by a technology company and an advocacy group founded by a man whose son was killed in an accident with a driver who was texting. The driver initially claimed that he had dozed off. It was not possible for police to examine the phone without a search warrant, but the father obtained a subpoena and was able to get the phone records six months after the accident.

Traffic fatalities are on the rise, with approximately 40,000 deaths in 2016, and phone distractions might be one reason. Safety advocates predict that like the device it is named for, the Breathalyzer, the textalyzer could be an important tool in traffic safety.

When they are caused by a driver distracted by a cellphone, car accidents can lead to devastating injuries. A person who is injured in an accident like this might have more expenses than an insurance company's offer will cover. If this happens, the victim might want to have the assistance of an attorney in filing a civil lawsuit that seeks appropriate compensation from the at-fault motorist.

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