Texting tracker could be breakthrough for law enforcement

Personal injury Lawyer Matt Arnold answers the question: “If I am injured in a car accident or at work what should I do?”


We have recently discussed the dangers posed by texting and driving. As the number of fatal auto accidents continues to increase, experts are struggling to find ways to mitigate the harm. Though many believe that driver distraction is a big and growing cause of this danger, it has been a surprisingly difficult problem to address. Texting is hard to identify and cannot be easily detected after the fact. Unlike drunk driving, there has never been a breathalyzer for smart phones. Until now that is…


zoomed-in-phone-Charlotte-Injury-Lawyer-Lake-Norman-Wrongful-Death-300x225A company called Cellebrite USA has created a new product known informally as the textalyzer. What is a textalyzer, you may be wondering? Much like it sounds, a textalzyer is intended to work like a breathalyzer, but for your phone. When you connect the textalyzer to your phone, a program on the device accesses cell data to see when or if the driver typed or swiped the screen. This can reconstruct what happened on the phone in the moments prior to a crash. Specifically, the textalyzer shows what apps were opened and at what time they were accessed by the driver. It identifies when calls arrived and how long they lasted and when text messages were sent or received.


The hope is that this can help law enforcement officers crack down on distracted drivers. Too often officers say they don’t know what a driver was doing on his or her phone prior to a crash and the process of finding out can involve warrants or demands to cellphone carriers. The textalyzer dramatically speeds up that process, giving officers at the scene valuable information about what happened and why. Though there are potential positives, others fear the invasion of privacy associated with the use of the textalyzer.


Critics of the device say that it amounts to a massive invasion of a driver’s personal privacy. There is little confidence that the textalyzer could not be used to gather other, even more sensitive data for the police. For instance, the textalyzer could grab location data or text messages or phone calls, allowing police to access all kinds of information that ought to be private without a warrant. Officials with Cellebrite claim their device does not read text messages nor pull any other data from the phone, all it targets is the time and number of times the device is physically touched.


The use of the textalyzer is truly cutting edge at the moment. So far only New York has taken concrete action to pass textalyzer use into law. Though texting while driving is illegal in 47 states, few have shown the willpower to take such a drastic step. So far, Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee would examine the use of the technology and study whether it would be useful to law enforcement officials. The Governor will also take the privacy issues surrounding the use of the textalyzer into account. New York has a history of leading on auto safety requirements so such a step is not a surprise. It was the first state to pass a motorcycle helmet law, a seat belt law for front-seat passengers and a law against the use of cellphones while driving.


Here in North Carolina, the textalyzer is also under consideration. The problem of distracted driving is serious and appears to be getting much worse. According to recently published data, 177 people were killed in North Carolina last year due to distracted driving crashes. This number has risen dramatically in recent years and continues to rise nationally. Road safety experts believe there are few tools to bring this number down, but are cautiously optimistic that the textalyzer, or some similar device, may curb the growth in distracted driving crashes.


If you or someone close to you has been injured, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today who can help you receive the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation, call at 704-370-2828 or click here for additional resources.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.






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