District Attorney Calls for Smartphones that Disable Text Message Capability while Driving

Prosecutors Ask Manufacturers to Block Texting While Driving

Texting & drivingAs the number of accidents involving texting and driving continues to rise, law enforcement officials have asked smartphone makers and insurance companies to join forces to encourage compliance with existing laws and to minimize the incidence of texting and driving. At a press conference in early September, Kathleen Rice, District Attorney for Nassau County on New York’s Long Island, called for smartphone manufacturers to make technology that prevents texting and driving standard in all new phones. She also asked insurance companies to provide discounts to drivers who use devices with text-blocking technology, or who voluntarily load text-blocking apps on their mobile devices. Studies show that texting while driving increases the risk of an accident by as much as 23 times.

Under New York state law, it is illegal to use to use a hand-held mobile phone or to use any type of hand-held device to send a text message or e-mail while you are driving. Violation can lead to fines of up to $400 and the potential for five points on your driving record. If you are ticketed for violating the law while still driving on a probationary or junior driver’s permit, your license or permit will be suspended for 60 days.

Rice also told reporters that she will seek mandatory text blocking technology for anyone convicted of violating New York’s texting and driving law, and that she will ask officers to cite motorists for texting and driving, even when they are charged with more serious crimes.

Apple, manufacturer of the iPhone, the largest selling smartphone, has proposed technology that would determine whether a user was driving through the use of either on-board sensors or pulling information when the phone is connected in a car. In addition, there are a number of applications available to block texting while driving, including Live2Txt, DriveOff, Drive Scribe and Canary.

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