US considers moves to scan drivers’ mobile phones

12.00 | 13 April 2016 |

Authorities in New York are looking at introducing legislation which would give them powers to see whether a driver was using a mobile phone at the time of a collision (BBC News).

The BBC News report says police would carry out ‘breathalyser-style’ roadside scans which would show whether a mobile phone had been in use at the time of a crash.

The move follows an 840% hike in the number of fines issued to drivers in New York for texting while driving.

The New York Senate Transportation Committee is currently considering the legislation which would be the first of its kind.

A group called Distracted Operators Risk Casualties, founded by Ben Lieberman whose 19-year-old son, Evan, was killed by a distracted driver, has been lobbying for the move which has been named ‘Evan’s Law’.

The BBC News report says the Israeli company Cellebrite is developing technology that could be used for this purpose. 

Technology already exists that that can check a phone’s recent activity but this would need to be adapted to ensure any scanning equipment was not logging the contents of texts or numbers called. This anonymity is crucial to ensure the scanning technology would not fall foul of the Fourth Amendment right to privacy.


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