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"Textalyzer" could detect distracted driving

It is common here in McLean, across Virginia and throughout the nation: people driving while paying attention to their phones rather than the traffic. The results of distracted driving are predictable: car accidents that cause injuries and sometimes fatalities.

But just as technology has given us fascinating electronic gadgets, it might soon give law enforcement officers tools with which distracted driving can be easily detected.

According to a recent report by NPR, new technology to detect distracted driving is on its way. The so-called "textalyzer" would enable police officers to quickly check drivers' phones to see if they have been used improperly.

The emerging technology would enable officers to peer into phones and determine if phone use played a role in motor vehicle crashes.

NPR spoke with a man whose 19-year-old son was killed in a vehicle crash. The father says people mistakenly believe that police investigating accidents can "just get a warrant" or "just get the phone records" to check if a phone was in use in the moments leading up to a crash.

"The implication is that the warrant is like filling out some minor form," the father said. In reality, police have to have probable cause to get a judge to issue a warrant to search the phone.

The technology being developed by the father with a company in New York would enable a police officer to attach a device to a phone and in about 90 seconds know if the device had been used prior to the crash to text, receive email, browse social media sites, etc.

Some civil libertarians are wary of the potential for police to invade privacy without a court's permission, however.

Though the tech is not yet fully developed, there will be legal issues to consider before we see it in widespread use.

For someone injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, there are often medical bills, lost wages and other damages to contend with. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can pursue full and fair compensation for all damages.

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