The "Textalyzer" is the New Breathalyzer

Proud to share this transcript of my testimony on October 25, 2017 at a listening session conducted by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.

Good afternoon members of the panel.

My name is Marci Goldfarb and I am very pleased to be speaking before you today.

I am an attorney practicing law in Long Island, the 5 Boroughs and throughout New York State.  I am a traffic ticket attorney.

Since 2004 I have represented drivers who receive tickets for all kinds of traffic infractions and any criminal matters that flow from those tickets.  During the course of my practice I have been retained by and represented many clients, certainly well into the 100s, who have received traffic tickets under the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Sections 1225(c) and 1225 (d) which are the sections under discussion here.  These are the sections that prohibit drivers from using portable electronic devices while driving.

However, of all the clients I have represented over the past 13 years I do not recall any who received a ticket for violating either of these sections at the time of an accident.

Why is this? Because unless a police officer is actually a witness to the accident or unless there is a witness who actually saw the driver using a cell phone, that driver  cannot be given a ticket for a violation of Section 1225 c or d.   

Breathalyzers are given when a police officer stops a motorist and has reason to believe the motorist is intoxicated. The laws surrounding the breathalyzer were enacted to deter motorists from driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol for the purpose of ensuring  public safety. 

We have no such law concerning distracted driving.  Even though we have statistics on the dangers of texting and driving and even though we, and the legislature, agree on the seriousness of the offense, the law as it currently stands does not do enough to deter the offense. The law as it stands does not do enough to protect the public good or public safety.

Today we discuss the benefits of the textalyzer, a device that will deter texting while driving, a device that will save lives, a device that will protect public safety.  

The legislative INTENT for the distracted driving laws was to deter distracted driving. Enacting Evan’s Law, and using the textalyzer will further serve that purpose.  The whole idea is to understand the issue of distracted driving, implement proper deterrents and create a social stigma, like the social stigma that was so effectively created for drinking and driving.

As we know from all of the studies, traffic fatalities are on the rise in the United States.  We need to be tougher and our laws need to be tougher. We should be doing anything and everything we can to make sure drivers in New York are not picking up that cell phone for any purpose while they are driving. Our lives and our children’s lives depend on it.

Personally, I can tell you this…. if I am in an accident I would welcome the opportunity to prove I was not using my cell phone at the time of the accident. The textalyzer will do that.  I fully support  Evan’s Law and hope one day to see the beneficial results that the textalyzer will bring to our state and our citizens.