Let me put this in the simplest terms possible: Texting and driving is dangerous as hell, and if you do it you are one stupid melon farmer and I hate you. No, you aren’t “good at it”, and no, you can’t “be safe while doing it”. Several years ago, the good ol’ Mythbusters proved that distracted driving (a.k.a. using your phone for anything whilst behind the wheel) can actually be more dangerous than drunk driving, so just shut up if you think you’re some kind of special exception. Just don’t do it, period.
To combat the ever-growing scourge of texting and driving (and all types of phone-related distracted driving), New York legislators have proposed a bill that would allow the five-oh to use a new device called a Textalyzer—similar to a breathalyzer—to determine if a driver was using his/her phone prior to an accident or other driving infraction. So look out, dummies—you can’t fool the Textalyzer.
Put the Phone Down, or the Fuzz Will Put the Hammer Down
In most states, texting and driving is illegal, as it should be. But, because people are b-holes, plenty of them do it anyway. This has created an eight percent growth in traffic fatalities over the past year, the biggest such spike in half a century. Data from the National Safety Council shows that car accidents involving cell phone distractions have risen for three straight years, and that distracted driving now accounts for more than a quarter of the crashes in the US. More than 3,000 people are killed every year by smartphone-distracted drivers, so remember that next time you’ve “got to” reply to that super important text.
Facing these growing problems, Empire State lawmakers have decided to treat texting and driving with the same severity as drinking and driving. The newly-introduced bill, called “Evan’s Law”—after a 19-year-old who died of injuries sustained in a distracted-driver accident in 2011—would allow police officers to use a Textalyzer to check drivers’ phones for recent activity such as texting, emailing, Snapchatting, selfie snapping, and the like.
The Textalyzer won’t access the content of any texts, emails, etc., it detects, but will only show the constabulary how recently such actions were performed. If that’s anywhere near the time of the accident in question, the driver’s @$$ is grass. Drivers who refuse to let an officer Textalyze their mobile device could potentially have their driver’s license suspended.
New York law already prohibits any sort of hands-on phone use while behind the wheel (hands-free is fine), but that has, of course, not stopped countless idiots from doing that very thing. “We need something on the books where people’s behavior [will] change,” New York State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz told the New York Times, adding that he hoped the legislation would prompt at least some drivers to wait until they’ve stopped the damn car to check their precious messages.
Other Potential Solutions?
There are other potential solutions for the texting-and-driving epidemic, but none of them have been terrible effective thus far, and other, newer ideas are just a bit beyond the reach of currently-available technology.
An app called Safe Texting uses cell tower change technology to, essentially, detect when someone is driving and display “Please Don’t Text and Drive” messages on the driver’s phone when they try to use the device. This is a great idea, but it only works if someone is willing to download and use the app. It seems to me that most of the @$$holes who do text and drive would not do this, because their $#!t is always so important.
Another option comes from San Francisco startup Navdy. Their solution is a unique heads-up display (HUD) that syncs with the drivers mobile device and projects messages on the windshield. This seems like it would be just as distracting, if not more, than using your phone. You wouldn’t have to take your eyes off the road, sure, but then you’re just reading $#!t on your windshield, and that’s pretty distracting, too. Plus, from what I can tell, the HUD automatically projects any incoming message, so even if you’re trying to not be distracted, that text from Becky is going to pop up in front of you anyway. But again, if you really didn’t want to be distracted while driving, you wouldn’t even have the stupid HUD thing and would keep your phone safely tucked away like you should.