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Evan's Law Would Allow Cops To Use 'Textalyzers' To Probe Distracted Driving Allegations

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A bill has been introduced in New York which aims to increase distracted driver accountability.

If passed it would let police use technology at the scene of a crash to determine if the collision was related to distracted driving.

Back in 2011, 19-year-old Evan Lieberman was killed in a car crash.

"He was the passenger in the back seat. It shook us to the core," Lieberman's father Ben told CBS2's Alice Gainer.

The family said the driver who caused the car crash initially said he fell asleep at the wheel.

"What we found out later on was that there was a lot of phone activity," Ben said.

What angers the Lieberman family is that they had to do the investigating.

"We subpoenaed the phone records through our own civil lawsuit, and what we learned was that police were not to blame. There is no protocol for police to investigate at the scene of the accident," he said.

They're trying to change that with Evan's law.

Assistant Speaker of the Assembly Felix Ortiz introduced the bipartisan bill which would help create a protocol for police and allow them immediate access to drivers' cell phones.

"They will be able to obtain the cellphone and use the new technology," Ortiz said.

Much like a breathalyzer detects whether a driver is drunk, a so-called 'textalyzer' would determine if a person was on the phone at the time of the crash.

Cellebrite, an Israeli tech company confirmed they are developing it. They insist there are no privacy concerns.

Lieberman has been working with them.

"The scanning device is only looking at usage. It won't look at any content at all, not text conversations or pictures," he said.

The purpose of the bill is to help aid police in the investigation after the crash, but the hope is that it will somehow act as a deterrent.

"Put in people's minds psychologically that if this happened to me I'm going to have to pay big consequences. My cell phone is going to be confiscated," Ortiz said.

Most importantly, Lieberman said, they're trying to make sure no other family has to go through what they went through.

If the bill passes, New York would become the first state to use such technology. The cost of such technology is unknown at the time.


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