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Device aims to curb texting while driving

Law enforcement officials are hoping a device that can detect smartphone use will increase highway safety in Mississippi and across the U.S. The textalyzer allows police conducting accident investigations to determine if distracted driving may have played a role.

The technology is similar in some ways to breathalyzer tests that officers use during DUI stops, according to its manufacturer. Police simply connect it to a smartphone of a driver involved in a car accident. The device takes 90 seconds to analyze data such as texting, social media use, and app downloads and then puts a time stamp on the information.

Public safety advocates have hailed the textalyzer as a breakthrough in the fight to curb negligent driving behavior. With traffic fatalities rising 6 percent between 2015 and 2016, lawmakers in New York, New Jersey, and Tennessee are looking into implementing the technology in their states. However, civil liberties groups have expressed dismay about possible invasions of privacy. They are wary of allowing law enforcement officials to have access to personal and private information for minor accidents that do not involve serious injury or damages.

People who have been injured by a distracted driver may want to consult with an attorney experienced in handling the cases of car accident victims. These attorneys may be able to obtain compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages through the filing of a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist. Many of these types of lawsuits are settled by the insurance company before trial, but if the plaintiff's attorney deems the offer to be insufficient, the case could proceed.

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