NY drivers might get “textalyzer” phone scans

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NEW YORK, New York (WTNH) — Drivers who crash in the Big Apple could soon be required to hand their cell-phone over to police, in accordance with a new ‘textalyzer’ bill being pushed by some New York lawmakers.

According to CNNMoney, the proposed bill would give police a ‘textalyzer’ device that plugs into a phone, scanning its data to check if the driver had been texting or on a phone call during the crash. The device can tell if and when any texts were sent, or if any phone calls were made during a crash, but it cannot read messages.

The bill, “Evan’s Law”, is named after Evan Lieberman, a 19 year-old who died in a head-on crash with another teenager in 2011. The other driver, Michael Fiddle, was not charged for the fatal crash, but Lieberman’s father sued him after discovering Fiddle had been using his phone at some point during the drive.

Lieberman’s father, Evan Lieberman, launched a campaign against texting and driving, which pushed New York Governor Andrew Coumo to sign into law stricter penalties for distracted drivers, along with more police checkpoints on the roads.

The New York Senate’s transportation committee approved “Evan’s Law” by 16-to-2 votes in March, CNNMoney reports. The entire New York legislature will have to vote on the ‘textalyzer’ device before it reaches Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk for final approval.

The bill could face challenges getting approval, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 decision that police need a warrant to search cell phones.

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