A new weapon in the war on texting while driving- The Textalyzer!

We’ve all seen the public service messages about the dangers of texting and driving. Statistics show that distracted drivers are the cause of an alarming amount of crashes each year. In most states it is equal to driving while under the influence of alcohol. Still, despite the warnings, people continue to use their phones to text while driving.

This might be changing if technology being proposed for testing in New York is successful. Two lawmakers, New York Senator Terrence Murphy and Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz, have joined with the advocacy group, Distracted Operators Risk Casualties, to draft legislation that would allow authorities to examine phones at accident sites to determine if a driver involved in a crash was texting while driving.

Ben Lieberman, co-founder of DORC, has a personal interest in eliminating driver distractions. In 2011, his son, Evan, was killed by a distracted driver in New York. There is strong evidence that shows the growing danger that texting while driving poses. The National Safety Council reports that nearly 330,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving. A survey conducted by the Department of Transportation found that 1/3 of drivers surveyed admitted to texting while driving.

Police may soon have a weapon to help them determine if a driver has been texting while behind the wheel. An Israeli technology company, Cellebrite, has been working to develop a technology that will help police tell if your device has been used for texting. If the company name sounds familiar it’s because this company was the one that is rumored to have helped the FBI crack the iPhone encryption on the San Bernardino terrorist’s phone. It is reported that the company is developing technology that will allow police the ability to examine the use of your phone while still keeping your content such as conversations, contacts, photos, private.

Texting while driving is a growing problem that needs to be addressed. Is this technology the answer? Brendan Spaar wonders if it is being reactive more than proactive. In 2014, Samsung developed an app called Eyes On the Road that was tested in Singapore. The app used your phone’s sensor fusion technology and GSM cell towers to measure your speed to determine if you’re driving. If you are, it hides phone calls, SMS text messages, and social media alerts until you reach your destination. There are other apps available that will allow you to drive safely without being distracted by texts or other alerts. This seems to be a possible solution that will help prevent possible distractions before damage is done. Another incentive might be joining with auto insurers to offer discounts to encourage drivers to be text free while driving.

So before you get behind the wheel, remember- texting while driving can send you a message you can’t ignore. Don’t let your last words be the ones you regret the most.

Signs that you might be getting a ticket

Have you ever been driving along & come to an intersection where someone is standing by the road holding a cardboard sign? Some claim to be homeless wanting help or needing money for gas or food. There have even been people claiming to be disabled or pregnant in an attempt to touch the hearts & wallets of drivers going by. Brendan Spaar has seen this many times while driving in Forsyth County & on his way into Atlanta , Georgia.

The “ roadside entrepreneurs” are making a business of collecting money from the sympathetic drivers stopped for a light. There’s even an online site that tells you how to effectively panhandle. If you go to http://www.wikihow.com/Panhandle you can easily learn how to make your career as a successful “down and outer”. It has been reported that some of these people can make thousands of dollars with a piece of cardboard & a convincing story. They rarely get arrested & the income they make can make it profitable.

Most people are in a hurry once they get behind the wheel. When stopped at a light they tend to ignore what goes on around them. Since people holding signs at traffic lights have become more common, they almost blend in with the surroundings. Drivers in some cities are finding that ignoring someone with a cardboard sign could be a costly mistake.

Some cities are having police officers pose as sign holders in an attempt to crack down on drivers that aren’t wearing seatbelts or are using their cell phones to illegally talk or text. One of the undercover sign holders is the San Bernardino, California police department. They recently set up on the side of an interstate off ramp wearing regular clothing & holding a sign that read, ‘I am not homeless. SB Police. Looking for seat belt / cell phone violations.’ As drivers exited the ramp they were ticketed if they were observed to be on their cell phones or not wearing their seatbelts.

The 4 hour stakeout was a success in the eyes of the police department. There were 50 vehicle stops which resulted in 33 drivers getting tickets for cell phone violations, 15 tickets for seat belt violations, & 5 cars were impounded due to drivers having suspended licenses or no license at all. While the sign holders weren’t looking for handouts, it did wind up costing the drivers with violations.

It doesn’t appear that this has been put to use by the police departments around the Atlanta area but Brendan Spaar still suggests that drivers be aware of anyone holding signs on the side of the road. Having a conviction for a traffic violation on your record can hurt your wallet & car insurance rates.