If you get into an accident caused by a driver who was texting behind the wheel, it could be weeks or months until you learn for sure that the other driver was texting because of the legal processes involved in getting phone records. In the future, however, this information could be available in a matter of seconds.

This is the goal of an emerging technology referred to as a “textalyzer.” According to reports like this one from NPR, a textalyzer is a device that police can hook up to a person’s phone and gather information on what a person was doing in the moments leading up to an accident.

Once the textalyzer is plugged into a person’s phone, which could theoretically happen after any traffic stop or accident, it can process the phone’s most recent activities.

Essentially, it could tell police if a person was sending or reading texts, checking email, playing a game, browsing the Internet or taking a photo. 

Critics of the technology argue that it could present a problem with privacy. Even though the creators say that the device would only identify “taps and swipes,” there are still concerns that this could ultimately allow police to search a person’s phone without a warrant.

Whatever side you might agree with, the fact is that distracted driving continues to threaten the lives of drivers in Florida an all across the U.S., and more needs to be done to curb this behavior. State laws are proving to be ineffective and difficult to enforce; education and marketing campaigns are not getting through to people; distraction-blocking tools on phones are not being used.

The textalyzer is an interesting development that has the potential to change how distracted driving laws are enforced, just as the Breathalyzer changed how police could enforce drunk driving laws. We will certainly follow any developments as they related to the textalyzer and whether a bill is ever passed to approve its use in Florida. 

In the meantime, however, victims of a distracted driving accident may find their best option to hold a texting driver accountable for damages is to file a legal claim and pursue compensation.