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Technology might help lower distracted driving crashes

Oklahoma residents may be interested in news about an emerging technology called a textalyzer. Proponents of this technology claim that it will help lower the risk of distracted driving caused by cellphone usage. Opponents claim that it has the potential to give law enforcement too much information about a person, violating their civil rights and privacy laws. The technology was still in its early testing phases in the spring of 2017, but it could see wide scale usage.

The so-called textalyzer aims to solve one of the greatest problems associated with phone usage while driving, which is its reputation for being almost impossible to prove. As of 2017, laws require police officers or investigators to get a warrant to search a person's phone records or use in order to prove they were using their phone illegally. This has proven to be a major issue with enforcing laws related to car accidents caused by phone use while driving. By allowing an officer to quickly scan a person's phone for recent usage, including swiping that would distinguish between illegal and hands-free use, phone activity while driving can be proven and laws can be enforced.

Since the technology allows police to access a person's phone logs, there are many questions on how it may impact privacy and civil rights. Developers of the technology have assured that the device only reports usage and not specific information like call logs or text message contents, but uncertainty still remains.

If this technology is implemented on a wide scale, it may have an impact on how personal injury lawsuits are handled. Proving negligence due to cellphone usage has been difficult in the courtroom, but the ability to clearly demonstrate it could be a boon to plaintiffs' attorneys.

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