What happens after the police arrive at a crash scene in British Columbia? If one or more of the people involved are suspected of drunk driving, police will require those people to submit to a breathalyzer test to determine the cause of the crash.
But what if police suspect the crash cause was due to distracted driving? If BC follows the lead of New York there may soon be a new test to find out whether or not someone was texting and driving.
The Textalyzer is a new technology that allows law enforcement to obtain information from phones of drivers involved in crashes. Once they have the phone they can determine whether or not that person was illegally using the phone at the time of the crash.
To have the power to seize phones requires a new law, and that’s why Senate Bill S6325A is in committee in New York right now. If it passes, police in the state will be allowed to do field testing of any mobile phone or portable electronic present after a crash. If the person refuses to hand over the phone, they would have their driver’s license revoked in the same way they would if they refused a breathalyzer test.
BC’s Public Safety Critic Mike Farnworth has said he’s in support of new technology like the Textalyzer. If something like that came to the province, it would be a boost to BC’s harsh new distracted driving laws that are putting a stop to the problem of people texting while driving. As of June 1st, 2016, if you’re caught distracted driving, the fines will be even harsher than before. A first time distracted driving charge will net you a $368 fine and four demerit points on your BC driver’s license. Those demerit points will cost you $175, so the total bill for a single distracted driving charge will be $543.
The breathalyzer has been around in some shape or form for decades. Is the Textalyzer going to be its counterpart? Anything that will stop distracted drivers from using phones while driving is a smart thing to bring to BC.