File picture: Goodyear.
New York state in the US is set to study the use of a device known as the ‘textalyzer’ that would allow police to determine whether a motorist involved in a serious crash was texting while driving.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said that he would examine the technology, as well as the privacy and constitutional questions it could raise.

“Despite laws to ban cellphone use while driving, some motorists still continue to insist on texting behind the wheel - placing themselves and others at substantial risk,” Cuomo said.

The device is called the ‘textalyzer’ because of its similarity to the breathalyzer, which is used to identify drunk drivers. It would allow police to see if a motorist had been texting, emailing or otherwise using his or her cellphone before a serious crash.

The ‘textalyzer’ is still some months away from being ready, according to Cellebrite, the Israel-based tech company developing the device.

Privacy and civil liberties groups already have questioned whether the technology’s use would violate personal privacy, noting that police often must obtain search warrants before looking at a person’s phone.

AP

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