The Current

'Textalyzer' device to catch texting and driving prompts privacy concerns

The "textalyzer" is a roadside test for your phone to see if you've been texting while driving. The device is a proposal in New York state but has people across North America talking. Privacy advocates say the "textalyzer" is invasive and unnecessary.
In New York State, lawmakers want to authorize police to use a device they call the textalyzer. The device would scan your phone and know if you had been using it before a crash. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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It's become an all-too-common occurrence to see drivers on their smartphones — some times even texting while driving.

In Canada, using a mobile device at the wheel is against the law.  Canada's toughest distracted driving laws are currently in P.E.I., where the maximum fine is $1,200.  In comparison, the country's second-lowest penalty is $167 in B.C. but that is expected to change Monday when B.C. is set to unveil new, tougher penalties. 

Watch From One Second to the Next, a documentary that portrays tragic testimonies of individuals who have had their lives shattered as a direct result of texting and driving.

Mobile devices are also banned while driving in some U.S. states. Policy makers in New York state are proposing a new law that would address the issue of distracted drivers and smartphones with a device dubbed the "textalyzer." Police would be authorized to scan a phone and know if it was used before a crash.

Evan's Law is named after Evan Lieberman. He was 19-years-old when he was killed in a car accident, which the family later learned was caused by distracted driving. 

Critics worry there are too many unanswered privacy questions with this proposed law and find the use of "the textalyzer"  invasive and unnecessary. 

Guests in this segment:

The Current did request an interview with Cellebrite about its "textalyzer" technology. It pointed out that it would not be the only company that might manufacture so-called "textalyzers" and deferred questions to Ben Lieberman. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Julian Uzielli.