New York eyes use of 'textalyzer' to crack down on distracted driving

Posted: Updated:
WOODBURY -

New York could become the first state to pass a law that would treat distracted driving the same as drunken driving by giving officers a tool to check for cellphone use.

State lawmakers want to arm police with a test dubbed the "textalyzer," the digital equivalent of a Breathalyzer. The tool would help police determine if a driver was using their phone while on the road.

Civil libertarians believe the textalyzer would potentially violate privacy laws and civil liberties, and that other solutions to distracted driving should be explored before giving police the option to check phone use.

"The technology hasn't been tested and there is no evidence that it would serve as a deterrent," Susan Gottehrer, with the Nassau Chapter of the NYCLU. "So instead of going down this path of invasion of privacy and untested technology and all that, maybe there is a way to stop this in advance."

But Long Island safe driving advocates believe the textalyzer is needed to hold distracted drivers accountable.

"You should be paying attention, you should be abiding by the law, and if you are not, we need to give law enforcement every opportunity to protect us," says Marge Lee, of the group DEDICATEDD. "Driving is not a right it is a privilege, so if you want that privilege you have to abide by certain things."

  • SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • What's Cooking Photos

    What's Cooking Photos

    Chef Rob, of Uncle Giuseppe's, adds a little clarified butter, fresh herbs, some olive oil and, of course, salt and pepper, to season the steak. Add some roasted potatoes and sauteed broccoli rabe and some white wine to complete your perfect summer meal.Chef Rob, of Uncle Giuseppe's, adds a little clarified butter, fresh herbs, some olive oil and, of course, salt and pepper, to season the steak. Add some roasted potatoes and sauteed broccoli rabe and some white wine to complete your perfect summer meal.
    Chef Rob, of Uncle Giuseppe's, adds a little clarified butter, fresh herbs, some olive oil and, of course, salt and pepper, to season the steak. Add some roasted potatoes and sauteed broccoli rabe and some white wine to complete your perfect summer meal.Chef Rob, of Uncle Giuseppe's, adds a little clarified butter, fresh herbs, some olive oil and, of course, salt and pepper, to season the steak. Add some roasted potatoes and sauteed broccoli rabe and some white wine to complete your perfect summer meal.

    Each week, News 12's Lily Stolzberg heads into the kitchen with a different chef to cook up some delicious meals.

    Each week, News 12's Lily Stolzberg heads into the kitchen with a different chef to cook up some delicious meals.

  • Dog Day Fridays for July 20

    Dog Day Fridays for July 20

    Friday, July 20 2018 7:45 AM EDT2018-07-20 11:45:59 GMT
    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue.This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue.

    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue. The shelter is located in Island Park. Their phone number is (516) 960-6388.

    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue. The shelter is located in Island Park. Their phone number is (516) 960-6388.

  • Guide: Where to find food trucks on Long Island

    Guide: Where to find food trucks on Long Island

    Rolling Smoke can be found across Long Island.Rolling Smoke can be found across Long Island.
    Rolling Smoke can be found across Long Island.Rolling Smoke can be found across Long Island.

    Craving something savory or sweet? It doesn't really matter when it comes to food trucks, where you can have it all -- you just have to know where to find them! Here is a list of food trucks and where you could find them on Long Island. 

    Craving something savory or sweet? It doesn't really matter when it comes to food trucks, where you can have it all -- you just have to know where to find them! Here is a list of food trucks and where you could find them on Long Island. 

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."