If proposed legislation in New York is passed, you could soon find yourself forced to hand over your cell phone for testing with a "textalyzer" if you're involved in a car accident. 

You know how the breathalyzer measures a suspects blood alcohol level to see if they were drunk driving? Well, the textalyzer is a new device being developed by a company called Cellebrite who claims the technology will help authorities determine whether or not someone involved in a car crash was driving while distracted by their cell phone.

New York is the first state to take a good hard look at this new device and under the proposed legislation, anyone involved in an accident would have to hand over their phone to be check out of to see if they were using it before a crash.

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects people from  being searched or having their things taken away from them without any good reason. If the any law enforcement official wants to do this, they must get permission from a judge to perform the search. This includes searching a person's cell phone.

So, how would authorities get around the Fourth Amendment? Apparently the textalyzer would keep conversations, contacts, numbers, photos and basically everything else on your cell phone private. The only thing the textalyzer would be able to do is tell authorities if you were using your phone just before an accident- nothing else on your phone would be made available to authorities.

[via Ars Technica/Cellbrite]