Cell phone use while driving, as readers know, is one of the biggest issues we face when it comes to highway safety nowadays. The widespread use of smartphones and other connected devices is a primary contributor to the problem. Of particular concern is texting while driving, a practice most states have prohibited.
Here in New York, all drivers are prohibited from using portable electronic devices while driving, whether to talk, text, play games or engage in some other activity on the device. The law makes certain exceptions, which include: using a hands-free mobile telephone to talk; using a handheld device which is mounted to a vehicle surface; using a GPS device attached to the vehicle; to make an emergency call; or when operating an emergency vehicle.
Although prohibitions on texting and driving may have some effect on motorists’ decision to engage in the activity, they don’t do enough to prevent it. Solutions to the problem, most likely, are going to have to come from multiple angles: highway safety laws and regulations; increased law enforcement efforts; public education; and electronic device and motor vehicle manufacturers.
One of the emerging solutions to the problem is to allow law enforcement to make use of technology that allows them to determine whether a traffic incident was caused by cell phone use. The devices that house this technology are currently going by the name Textalyzer, a reference to the Breathalyzer devices that allow law enforcement to determine drivers’ level of intoxication.
In our next post, we’ll say more about this issue, and how its use could impact drivers.