Texting while driving is a threat to safety on the road that is growing more and more significant as more people think that they can get away with texting behind the wheel, according to the National Highway & Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA website distraction.gov.
Texting behind the wheel causes more impairment than drinking and driving. An NHTSA study compares texting behind the wheel to having consumed four beers before driving a car. Deadly accidents involving drunk driving have been on the decline by 25% while fatal accidents involving texting and driving have increased by 22% in 2011.
Hopefully, we can all agree that texting while driving is a reckless thing to do. Now there is a company in Virginia called ComSonics that is developing a device that is not unlike a radar gun that will detect the radio signals that your cell phone emits when it is in use. Law enforcement would point this device at a vehicle in the same way they use a radar gun to detect the use of a cell phone without having to see the person tapping away on the phone.
Of course, there is some controversy about this product that is not yet on the market. People have privacy concerns with the police being able to detect their cell phone calls. However, the device is reported to be able to differentiate between the frequencies of the signal that your phone emits when you are making a voice call to the one it emits when you are sending a text message.
From the perspective of a Tennessee criminal defense attorney who has seen far too many accidents that were the result of distracted driving, I will remind my readers that texting while driving is illegal. (TCA 55-8-199) It is a non-moving violation that can get you a $50 ticket, but no points on your license.
This so-called “texting gun” is still in development and has yet to be tested by law enforcement. Due to the complicated nature of communications technology, it will be difficult to develop a device that can prove that it was the driver who was sending the text by touching the keys on the phone, or if it was an auto-generated message sent by the phone. As long as you put down the phone, keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road everyone will be a lot safer.