Smartphones nowadays cater to many needs, whether entertainment, social life, information, work, education, and so on, but when driving, it’s absolutely essential to put the phone down and concentrate on the road. In fact, according to a study by Cambridge Mobile Telematics, using collected smartphone data from hundreds of thousands of drivers, phone distraction was involved in 52 percent of trips ending in a crash. Additionally, the study found that drivers used the phone for an average of more than two minutes before the crash.
To combat distracted driving, such as texting while driving, New York is eyeing a “textalyzer” app that allows police officers to access a person’s cell phone records after an accident, similar to implied consent and breathalyzers. Although this is not a law, and it may never be made into a law in the short term, it’s still important to consider how these types of measures may impact car accident lawsuits. Nevertheless, if you were injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, then you need to call the NYC car accident attorneys at NYC’s Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier. Free consultations are available.
What is a Textalyzer?
Distracted driving via smartphones is definitely a modern behavior, and it can be deadly. Road fatalities, which had fallen for years, have now risen sharply in recent years, reflecting the increased amount of drivers on the road, the ubiquity of smartphones, and more drivers passing the time on their phones while getting from Point A to Point B.
To combat distracted driving, there are countless private and State-funded initiatives out there, but perhaps one of the most provocative idea (from lawmakers in New York) is the Textalyzer, which is essentially a new device that is equivalent to a breathalyzer. It is a roadside test that police officers can use when responding to a car accident.
So, as the idea goes, police who arrive at the scene of an accident will be able to use the Textalyzer app to tap into the drivers’ mobile operating systems to check for recent activity. As a result, police can better determine if a driver was using his/her phone to text, email, or do anything else forbidden under New York’s hands-free driving laws. Additionally, similar to implied consent and breathalyzers, drivers who refuse to surrender their phones may face a license suspension.
Don’t expect the Textalyzer to be a reality in New York for the time being, as lawmakers have a serious uphill battle to fight in courts, especially regarding privacy concerns and Constitutional rights.
Distracted Driving and Car Accident Lawsuits in New York
Under New York law, it is illegal for drivers to hold a portable electronic device and:
- Talk on the handheld mobile telephone
- Emailing, texting, or browsing the web
- Viewing, talking, or transmitting images
- Playing games
Beginning in 2011, New York enacted a ban on texting or handheld device use while driving, and this law was considered a “primary enforcement” law. This means that NY police officers could pull you over without any other cause.
Because using a handheld mobile device is illegal in New York, if another individual causes an accident due to inattention, you may be able to prove fault, whether through witnesses statements, police records, or a record of criminal action enacted by New York law enforcement officers. However, remember that New York is a no-fault insurance state, and your options for financial recovery after an accident may be limited due to these statues. As such, it’s essential to contact an experienced NYC car accident attorney following your accident.
How a Textalyzer Could Impact Personal Injury Lawsuits in New York
Although the Textalyzer is far from being made a law (I assume), it is still a hypothetical situation. Nevertheless, if a technology such as Textalyzer does become a standard tool in a police officer’s post-accident investigatory arsenal, then the Textalyzer could have a huge impact when determining fault in a NY car accident case.
Because New York is a no-fault insurance state, however, you must collect financial damages from your own insurance company first. This includes medical expenses and other injury-related damages up to $50,000. If you meet the “serious injury” threshold or the damages exceed $50,000, you can step out of the no-fault system and bring a third-party car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
With the Textalyzer, determining fault or a driver’s percentage of fault may be easier, whether negotiating with insurance adjusters or litigating in courts. Evidence from a Textalyzer will clearly show whether or not one driver, or both drivers, were distracted while driving.
Contact Hoffmaier and Hoffmaier for NYC’s Top Legal Representation
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, it is critical to contact NYC’s top car accident lawyers for an expert overview of your case. We will look at the evidence available, help you file a claim with your insurance company, and ensure that the compensation will be suitable to cover your financial damages related to the injury, both now and in the future. For a free consultation with our personal injury law firm in East Village, call Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier today at (212) 777-9400.