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Device can detect last few phone actions of drivers

It may be easier to identify Kentucky drivers who cause accidents due to phone distractions if state authorities decide to use a new device known as the "textalyzer". The device can be attached to a phone to check a driver's last few actions. It can also tell whether the driver was using the phone in hands-free mode. Although privacy advocates have expressed concern about it, those who have worked on developing the device say it does not download content.

An advocacy group started by a man whose son was killed while riding in a car with a driver who was texting worked with a technology company to develop the device. Lawmakers in several cities and states have expressed interest in it. Drivers do not always admit that they have been using their phone when an accident happens, and it can be difficult for police to check their stories. In the accident that killed the man's son, the driver claimed to have fallen asleep. It took six months for the father to obtain a copy of the phone records through a civil lawsuit.

Deadly motor vehicle accidents are on the increase, and in 2016, approximately 40,000 people died on American roads. It is believed that phone distractions are contributing to this rise.

A person who is injured in an accident with a driver who is distracted may have medical bills and might lose income from missing work. When the offer of compensation from the insurance company is inadequate, the injured victim might want to file a civil lawsuit against the driver. The burden of proof is not as high in a civil lawsuit as it is in criminal proceedings, so if the plaintiff's attorney can demonstrate by a preponderance of evidence that the accident was due to the driver's careless actions, the lawsuit could be successful.

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