The text analyser system, or ‘textalyser’ for short, can be used by roadside cops to scan phones for recent activity. It would work in a similar way to random breathalyser tests, with a textalyser scan conducted by the roadside.
Cellebrite, the Israeli company behind the textalyser, has stated that its device can also be used after a collision to tell police whether a mobile phone was being used at the time of the incident.
Legislation making it legal for police to use this technology is currently being processed in the USA. At the moment privacy laws are stopping the implementation of the textalyser system, however Cellebrite claims it will not be able to access the content of the messages being sent or received, only to identify the offence.
Drivers would need to surrender their phone to police for the scan to take place. Supporters of the new technology are hopeful that drivers who do not comply will be forced to do so in the same way drivers who refuse a breath test can be charged.
A non-profit organisation in the USA called Distracted Operators Risk Casualties (DORCs) has helped to draft the new legislation, named ‘Evan’s Law’. DORCs is run by Ben Lieberman whose son, Evan, was killed by a distracted driver in 2011.
If you’re one of the alarmingly high number of people in Australia who have admitted to driving while distracted, check out our article about smartphone apps and car technology available right now that can help you stay focussed and safe while driving.
Now read about Australian road rules you may not be aware of.