Texting is arguably more dangerous than drunk driving. According to a study conducted by Car And Driver, a driver’s reaction time is worse while texting than while intoxicated. With nearly all drivers in possession of a cell phone, it seems likely many more people are driving while texting than driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For decades, law enforcement has developed methods to detect drunk driving. Officers now need a way to detect texting while driving without violating individuals’ right to privacy. Is the new “Textalyzer” the answer?
The last entry in this blog discussed the movement to decrease distracted driving in the United States. Using cell phones while driving appears to be increasingly problematic. In response, states are criminalizing the behavior, and groups like the Partnership For Distraction-Free Driving and the Distracted Driving Project are mounting campaigns which encourage drivers to not multi-task while driving. Another idea to combat distracted driving is use of the ‘Textalyzer’.
How many times have you seen someone obviously texting while driving? I recently drove by a guy who was operating his phone with both hands while he steered his car with his knees. I’m sensitive to the danger posed by distracted driving, both as a lawyer who represents clients charged with traffic offenses and as a father of a child approaching driving age. The more we learn about the danger of distracted driving, the more we understand it may be as hazardous as drunk driving. Consequently, driving while texting may someday carry penalties like those for DUI (known as OVI in Ohio).