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Device may allow officers to see what apps drivers were using

Colorado motorists may be interested to learn that several cities around the nation may allow authorities to use a device that shows them if drivers were using their phone to text, read their emails or post on Facebook while they are behind the wheel. While the technology could potentially help officers determine if the driver was distracted when an accident occurred, it means privacy could also be at risk.

Before a cellphone can be searched without the driver's permission, a search warrant is needed. However, getting a search warrant under these circumstances can be impractical. Although the phone records can potentially be subpoenaed, they often do not show if the driver was browsing the internet or reading email.

As such, a company called Cellebrite has been working to develop a program that would allow authorities to determine if a driver was texting just prior to an accident. All the officer would have to do is attach a cord to the phone. The device shows what apps were open with a time stamp.

Car accidents caused by distracted drivers can leave occupants of other vehicles with life-threatening injuries. If there is evidence that the accident was due to a motorist accessing email or visiting websites immediately prior to the collision, then injured victims might want to meet with an attorney to see if the filing of a lawsuit would be an appropriate way of seeking compensation from the at-fault motorist. Such a lawsuit could be successful even if no criminal charges are filed against the driver.

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