District Attorney in Long Island, New York moves for smartphone kill switch against those busted for texting and driving

District Attorney in Long Island, New York moves for smartphone kill switch against those busted for texting and driving
The District Attorney for Nassau County, New York, Kathleen Rice is setting the stage to mandate either a hardware, or software solution that would disable the cell phones of drives who are convicted of texting while driving.

She has not chosen a specific solution, but the idea, as she wants to implement it, would be similar to existing tools that are installed on those who are convicted of drunk driving, which include ignition locks, transdermal alcohol monitoring bracelets, and in-car breathalyzers. As is the case with drunk driving convictions, the driver pays for the hardware.

DA Rice is still evaluating the technology, but her announcement is timely amidst the recent news of 20-year-old Abby Sletten being charged with negligent homicide after killing 89-year-old Phyllis Gordon in a car wreck this past spring in North Dakota.

“Hardware and software solutions that block texting during driving are currently produced by various manufacturers and software developers, and are constantly under development. The DA’s office does not endorse any particular company and is in the process of reviewing specific solutions based on their features and services. Critical features include security measures to make the solutions tamper-proof, and data integrity measures to ensure accurate reporting to courts, law enforcement, parents, and guardians.” – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice

44 states ban texting while driving. If DA Rice gets her way, the punishment would only be effective for residents of her county of jurisdiction, Nassau County, not statewide.

source: Ars Technica



1. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

This is a great idea...

5. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

Disproportionate measures. The American dream turns into a nightmare

9. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

Yeah, if he's so concern about his citizen. Why doesn't he spend his precious energy lowering taxes or cost of energy? Or better yet, wave the penalty or make it illegal to have mobile contracts? Always trying to legislate, so simple. For once, do something for the people.

10. William13

Posts: 27; Member since: Mar 10, 2011

You do realize that carriers are already moving away from contracts right? The monthly installment plan options are just so you don't have to shell out $700 up front when you buy a New phone. Every company that's moved away from contracts has also seen a jump in profits for those transactions, so I'm pretty sure they'll continue heading that way.

2. JMartin22

Posts: 2388; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

Infuriating and effective at the same time. They would have to use the GPS function to determine how fast the person is traveling to know whether or not they're in a moving vehicle. Or have some sort of device that is hard-synchronized with the phone, attached to the car

3. Cdowd85

Posts: 17; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

How exactly would they determine if it's the driver or a passenger moving?

11. tedkord

Posts: 17464; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Plus, you'd be locked out of your phone in a taxi, train, bus, subway...

14. FrenchTea

Posts: 16; Member since: Aug 18, 2014

Exactly and what if the driver hands their phone to the passenger to respon to a text for them ?

4. lalalaman

Posts: 638; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

Thats harsh and rude....kill switch a phone is ridiculous(there can be too much imp stuff on phone).....why not fine like $500...

6. JMartin22

Posts: 2388; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

Really? It's not harsh at all. They should learn how to follow the law so they can avoid such consequences.

7. mcaleer1

Posts: 17; Member since: Jul 08, 2014

Wouldn't happen. Too hard to implement correctly and enforce. Do you think apple is going to give lawmakers root level access to their os? Not a chance.

8. tasior

Posts: 265; Member since: Nov 04, 2012

Wouldn't it be better to take away driving license from a person who has been cought let's say twice on texting? Driving car is for responsible people. If You're so irresponsible, that You don't see a problem in not watching road ahead while driving, You shouldn't be allowed to drive...

13. JMartin22

Posts: 2388; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

Many people drive with suspended or no license at all though

15. tasior

Posts: 265; Member since: Nov 04, 2012

Yes I noticed. In my country there is quite a big problem with people who lost their driving license, because they were driving drunk, and they kept on doing it, until they killed somebody... Having no license should be something entirely different, than loosing the right to drive. I think that driving, after being prohibited to do so, should be considered, as crime...

12. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Implementing something like this would either be impossible or difficult to the point if total impracticality.

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