Proposed Legislation Would Allow a Police Officer to Search Your Cell Phone History

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Proposed Legislation Would Allow a Police Officer to Search Your Cell Phone History

Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. With this in mind, would it bother you if along with your license and registration, a police officer asked you for your cellphone after an accident?

A new legislation was proposed by state Sen. James Holzapfel that would allow police officers to confiscate cellphones if they have “reasonable grounds” to believe that the driver was distracted by their cellphone when an accident occurred. Once the officer searched through the driver’s phone and looked at the phone’s history, they would be required to return it to the driver.

The reason the legislation was proposed is to cut the amount of distracted driving accidents down, but what most people are saying is that it is an invasion of privacy. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey was displeased and member Alexander Shalom stated, “Our 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.” Shalom also stated that because the legislature cannot authorize searches unless there is probable cause, it is likely that the bill is susceptible to constitutional challenge.

Currently 11 states have banned talking on a cellphone while driving, and 41 states have banned texting while driving a motor vehicle.

Do you feel that this legislation is a step in the right direction or do you think that it is an invasion of privacy? Share your thoughts with us.

Source: Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System Inc., “After the crash: Driver’s license, registration, cellphone, please.” Ed Payne, June 12, 2013.

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