Cops Going Undercover to Nab Texting Drivers

undercover copsCops are stepping up efforts to catch texting drivers across the country.  In some departments, officers pose as construction workers or homeless along the sides of busy roads to nab the distracted drivers.  Once they spot a texting driver, they call ahead for waiting uniformed officers to stop the texting driver and cite him for the violation.

According to the NY Post,

Cpl. Patrick Robinson went undercover Tuesday morning equipped with a police radio and a body camera. He held a sign that read, “I am not homeless. I am a Montgomery County police officer looking for cell phone texting violations.”

Montgomery County police Sgt. Phillip Chapin and about eight other officers issued a total of 56 tickets county-wide that day, including 31 tickets and 9 warnings to people caught using their phones without hands-free devices.

Chapin says authorities are seeing more distracted-driver-related deaths as a result of people using their phones while behind the wheel.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015, almost 3,500 people were killed and 400,000 people were injured due to distracted driving, which includes texting.

There are even efforts to prevent texting while driving using new technology.  A bill in New York state could potentially legalize the use of a ‘textalyzer’ device by law enforcement to determine whether a driver’s phone was used at the time of an accident.  But this has raised concerns by privacy advocates.  Cellebrite CEO James Grady says privacy advocates are usually much more comfortable once they learn “that we actually don’t take any data off the phone about who you were texting to or what you were saying in those texts, only the operating system logs that show you were touching the phone, that’s the only thing that’s necessary and we take no data off the phone.”

Grady then explained how the ‘textalyzer’ device works, telling the FOX Business Network’s Ashley Webster, “The police would let the driver continue to hold their own phone and ask them to unlock it and they would just put the cable in and then it would, in about 90 seconds, read whether there was any activity on the screen of texting or messaging.”

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