Law enforcement agencies around New York have recently reported that New York City drivers are receiving more speeding tickets and texting-while-driving tickets so far in 2017 than compared to the same time frame in 2016. It is not just a minor increase, either. According to their data, the number of total tickets has spiked a whopping 50%, bringing the 2017 total to more than 25,000 thus far.
James O’Neill, the acting police commissioner, commented that it is all party of the New York Police Department’s role in Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero program. Vision Zero is a safety campaign adopted by numerous cities around the country with the objective of bringing traffic-related deaths each year down to zero, as the name implies. With speeding and texting both being significant causes of fatal car accidents in America, it is not really a surprise that the police would try to catch and penalize those driving in this way. Traffic deaths in NYC have dropped nearly 16% since last year, which will likely further encourage police crackdowns.
Introducing the Textalyzer
Writing traffic tickets at an increased rate than last year is not the only way the NYPD wants to participate in the city’s Vision Zero program. There is also legislation being drafted right now that would let a police officer conduct a brief analysis (read: digital search) of a driver’s phone after a car accident that caused injury, death, or significant damage. Coined the “Textalyzer” by legislators, the device would scan a cellphone for any data related to sending or receiving text messages, and it would only search for that data in a time frame immediately prior to the crash. It has been claimed that the scanner would not capture or transmit any additional information about the data; that is to say, it cannot read text messages, it would only know that there had been one.
While the NYPD and other groups believe the Textalyzer has good potential, opponents are concerned it is a step in the wrong direction and a violation of a person’s privacy. Currently, police need to obtain a warrant to search a person’s smartphone at all, as it is private property.
Legal Defense Against Traffic Citations in NYC
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