Empire - pic - Texting and Driving

RAISE AWARENESS OF DISTRACTED DRIVING IN NEW YORK

By RYAN WICKER

New York State Senator Terrence Murphy (R- Westchester) and Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz (D-Kings), together with awareness organization Distracted Operators Risk Casualties (DORCs), today announced a joint effort that could go a long way in protecting innocent people from injuries caused by distracted driving.

“The facts regarding distracted driving are startling,” said Senator Murphy. “Every year thousands of Americans are involved in a automobile accident a result of distractions behind the wheel. I am thrilled to partner with Assemblyman Ortiz and the Lieberman family to bring more awareness to this issue and support legislation that will help our law enforcement more effectively enforce the rules of the road.”

DORCs co-founder Ben Lieberman, a staunch advocate against distracted driving since he and his family lost their 19-year-old son, Evan, in a 2011 collision caused by a distracted driver, has been working closely with Senator Murphy and Assemblyman Ortiz to implement the new law, known as “Evan’s Law.”

For weeks following the crash that resulted in Evan’s death, the driver’s phone was sitting in a junkyard, and police never retrieved the phone or phone records. Through his own civil lawsuit, Lieberman subpoenaed the phone records and discovered the driver had been texting while he was driving, leading up to the crash. Lieberman was surprised to learn that the local police force wasn’t to blame, but rather that this was typical because there’s a lack of an overall official, consistent police protocol to address this type of destructive behavior.

“The general public knows distracted driving is a problem, but if people knew the extent of the damage caused by this behavior, they would be amazed,” said Lieberman. “With our current laws, we’re not getting accurate information because the issue is not being addressed at the heart of the problem – with the people causing the collisions.”

A key part of the legislation involves new “Textalyzer” technology that will allow officers to detect whether or not the device was being used around the time of a crash, but will not provide access to any content- keeping conversations, contacts, numbers, photos, and application data private.

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