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Technology takes aim at drivers using phones

The phones of West Virginia drivers who are involved in an accident may face additional scrutiny if states begin passing a law that allows law enforcement to detect whether the driver was using the phone at the time of the crash. While most states have laws that prohibit texting and other uses of the phone while driving, it is difficult to determine whether drivers were doing so at the time a crash occurred, and drivers might not be forthcoming about their habits.

A man in New York formed an advocacy group that has been pushing development of the device after his son was killed in an accident that involved a driver who was texting. The driver had told police he had fallen asleep at the wheel. The police were unable to look at the driver's phone because it would have involved getting a search warrant. Only after the father obtained a subpoena did he learn the truth. It is estimated that a significant number of traffic fatalities are because of phone distractions.

The device will detect actions such as screen swipes, taps and what apps were open as well at what the driver was doing in the final seconds. However, concern has been expressed about privacy and the potential for the abuse of civil liberties.

A person who is injured in a car accident with a driver who was distracted may want to meet with an attorney to see what recourse they may have. In some cases, it could be advisable to seek compensation for medical expenses and other damages through a personal injury lawsuit filed against the at-fault motorist.

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Stephen P. New, Attorney at Law
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Beckley, WV 25801

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