‘Textalyzers’ to catch texting drivers

Privacy advocates worry about implications of handing over your phone

“We literally are running into a crisis proportion of pedestrians getting hit, struck, killed and hurt,” Brown said. “We don’t always have to be last in safety.”

Privacy worries
Distracted driving fatalities have surpassed those caused by impaired driving in some parts of Canada, according to data from the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF). In Ontario alone so far this year, provincial police report that distracted driving has accounted for 44 fatalities, while impaired driving has led to 34 deaths.

Brown said he met with Ontario Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney about a month ago to talk about vulnerable road user laws, and raised the issue with her.

The province said in a statement that it is continuing to monitor the effectiveness of Ontario’s distracted driving laws, new research and what’s happening in other jurisdictions.

“Any new or enhanced enforcement tools are reviewed as a part of this ongoing monitoring and evaluation process,” the statement reads. Toronto police would not say if the device would be a help in investigations, and instead referred questions to the province.

It’s not just traffic safety. People are missing other things.

If they want to stop texting and driving. Do as they do in Alaska:

Alaska has the harshest distracted driving penalties of any state. Texting while driving has been illegal in Alaska since 2012.

  • Texting and driving is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $10,000 and up to a year in prison.
  • If the collision results in injury, the charge becomes a Class C felony, with a fine of up to $50,000 and five years in prison.
  • If someone is seriously injured, it is a Class B felony, with a fine of up to $100,000 and ten years in prison.
  • If someone is killed, the charge is a Class A felony, with a fine of up to $250,000 and 20 years in prison.

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