In an effort to impede texting while driving, several New York state lawmakers
are making the push to demand drivers to hand over their phones to law
enforcement after a
motor vehicle accident. The bill would enable police to possess and use a device which connects
into a phone and scans logs in order to determine if a driver was calling
or texting when a crash occurred. In addition, if a driver refuses to
relinquish their phones, their driver’s license would be suspended,
similar to suspected drunk drivers who refuse to submit to BAC testing.
The bill is named “Evan’s Law” after Evan Lieberman,
who passed away at the age of 19 from injuries he sustained after being
involved in a head-on collision with another teenager five years ago.
The other driver, Michael A. Fiddle, didn’t face criminal charges
for the accident. However, Ben Lieberman, Evan’s father, sued Fiddle
and found out that Fiddle had been using his cellphone while driving on
that particular morning. Since the accident, Ben Lieberman has campaigned
against people who text while driving, resulting in harsher punishments for
distracted drivers and an increase in checkpoints with the help from New York Governor Andrew
Cuomo in 2013.
If Evan’s Law is signed by Cuomo, the financial beneficiary from
this is Cellebrite, a New Jersey company which possesses comprehensive
experience in aiding police officers in cellphone scans and searches.
Cellebrite marketing executive Jeremy Nazarian stated that the device
would only check phone logs, which the metadata record that displays whether
or not a text message was sent, as opposed to viewing the content of the message.
While “Evan’s Law” has been approved 16-to-2 by the state’s
transportation committee last month, it appears the law will be challenged
in court by privacy advocates. In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that
law enforcement is required to have a warrant to search cellphones.
For more information about distracted driving,
contact our New York City personal injury attorney today.