Government Technology

Would Checking Cellphones After Collisions Truly Help Police?

Distracted Driving

July 15, 2013 By

In New Jersey, a bill introduced to the state Senate on May 20 is still pending -- and perhaps for good reason.

Senate Bill (SB) 2783, which would allow police to look through cellphones without warrants, aims to determine whether drivers were texting or talking when a traffic accident occurred should officers have reasonable grounds to believe that may be the case.

But as is expected, the bill has drawn suspicion from the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, which told CNN that the state and federal constitutions "generally require probable cause before authorizing a search, particularly when it comes to areas that contain highly personal information such as cellphones."

Despite privacy concerns, however, there is the matter of driver safety, and cellphone usage has become a major problem for motorists. According to  the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety,  1,840 cellphone-related crashes were reported in 2011.

And the issue isn't limited to the state. 

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Cheryl    |    Commented July 18, 2013

YES. Always check cell phones, and give drivers who are using cell phone EXPENSIVE tickets.

oleprof    |    Commented July 18, 2013

And which other Constitutional freedoms provided by the Bill of Rights by wise founders who thought about all possible government and police abuses do you want to throw away? I agree that obvious texting should be illegal and ticket-able, but we don't need to throw away our freedoms - as Benjamin Franklin (do you recognize his name?) once noted about citizens, those who will thoughtlessly give up their freedoms to attain safety/security will ultimately gain neither. Old Wise Prof

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