Texting while driving in New York is against the law. In fact, 46 states ban texting while driving and two more states have a partial ban on it. The reason for the ban is that distracted driving can result in serious accidents and tragic deaths.
National Public Radio (npr.com) reported about texting and driving in a 2016 article called “New York Wants to Know: Have You Been Texting and Driving?”. A bill in the NY legislature, referred to as Evan’s Law, proposed that police officers should be allowed to check drivers’ cell phones at accident scenes.
Ben Lieberman’s 19 year-old son Evan died from serious injuries a month after a serious car accident that occurred in Hudson Valley, north of New York City. He was a passenger wearing a seat belt and sitting in the backseat of the car. The driver claimed he had fallen asleep at the wheel, which resulted in a head-on collision with an oncoming car. When the police failed to investigate the driver’s cell phone, six months later, Ben Lieberman requested a subpoena as part of a civil lawsuit. Phone records revealed the driver had been texting throughout the time driving, including near where the accident occurred.
Lieberman wants to build an electronic device that a police officer could plug into a cellphone to see whether the phone was in use at the time of a crash. The device would not reveal personal communications but instead would be a textalyzer, used to help determine whether a driver was texting.
Law enforcement has the right to subpoena records from a phone company or request a search warrant from a judge to search a phone. However, it takes time and money to do so.
The Director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute believes the percentage of distracted drivers is much higher than seen in police accident reports. Researchers put cameras in cars for a study at Virginia Tech and discovered that distracted driving caused about 70 percent of vehicle accidents. The reported statistic is only 20 percent.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious car accident, get legal help to discuss your rights and whether you can seek compensation.