N.J. Bill Would Allow Cops To Search Cellphones After Car Wrecks

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A New Jersey State Senator has proposed legislation that would allow police officers to confiscate drivers’ cellphones if they have “reasonable grounds” to believe that the driver was talking or texting at the time a wreck occurred.

The bill, from Senator James Holzapfel, would allow police to confiscate the mobile device belonging to the victim of a crash and thumb through its history in order to determine if the driver was guilty of distracted driving.

Bill S2783 states “whenever an operator of a motor vehicle has been involved in an accident resulting in death, bodily injury or property damage, a police officer may confiscate the operator’s hand-held wireless telephone if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the operator was operating a hand-held wireless telephone while driving.”

Some law enforcement officers in the State have applauded the legislative effort, calling it a deterrent to distracted driving.

“A lot of your accidents are happening due to distracted driving,” New Jersey Police officer Brian Metzler News 12. But, the officer added, police need a way to prove a driver was at fault.

Evidencing technology’s always-growing prevalence in American life, mobile phones have seemingly been a hot topic within the law enforcement community throughout the Nation over the past few years — and not just because they can cause distractions behind the wheel. Officers, unwilling to be taped by video phone-wielding civilians, have increasingly made it standard operating procedure to attempt to confiscate the cellphones of anyone they come into contact with.

Civil liberties advocates contend that an officer confiscating, or conducting warrantless searches of the contents of a civilian’s cellphone, directly violates the 4th Amendment.

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

  • Mikey

    Nazi Jersey, violating your rights with the best of them.

  • Robert Smith

    They don’t need the phone. All they need to do is ask NSA.
    Rob

    • FreedomFighter

      NJ is another democratic armpit of society, sky-high taxes, road tolls every 200 yards, poverty, 2nd amendment violating gun laws, and Chris Christy a progressive that was a trader to the American people helping Oblamer get elected while disguised as a Republican…
      btw…People that can, are moving from the state in the thousands due to the burdensome tax situation and disgust with Chris Christy the Crispy Crème progressive.
      Laus Deo
      Semper FI

  • Blank Reg

    Ever see their uniforms?…design copied directly from the Waffen SS…just a different color.

  • tim

    Always sticking their nose in our business, how about charging them with crimes when they break the law by beating someone senseless!!!!! They can call the phone company and request info, they don’t need the phone to look for other stuff!!!!!!!!!

  • independent thinker

    On the surface this sounds like a good idea. Check to see if the person was on the phone when the accident happened so you can charge them with distracted driving. However (and that is a BIG however) Constitutional issues aside you know their search would go far beyond just looking to see if you were on the phone at the time of the accident they would be checking every use of your phone that they can find a record of. Then of course you have the bigger issue of invasion of privacy, search and seizure without a warrent, etc.

  • vicki

    That is why you should always have your phone screen locked with a password.

  • vicki

    Even in California you are allowed by the king to talk while driving. You just are not allowed to hold the phone up to your ear.

    http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/cell-phones-driving-california-law-29709.html

    Interestingly the most dangerous part of using a cellphone IS allowed. You can dial the phone (touching it) while driving

    “Drivers are allowed to dial a wireless telephone while driving, but are strongly urged not to do so”

  • Guest

    Since the Constitution and Bill Of Rights are long gone in America, I think all vehicles should automatically be equiped with a feature that, if you are driving down the road, locks up your cell phone, I-Pad, etc. from being turned on, and being used. If you are sitting in your car with the engine turned off, your car engine should not be allowed to start while your phone is on. One blogger asked ”what about passengers”, when I posted such a suggestion before. Sorry, but I think the same should apply to them, as well. I get real tired (as a non-cell phone user) of dogging cell phone, i-pad/texting using idiots who swear they can multi-task behind the wheel, when they clearly cannot. And, since Big Brother is here to stay in America, I think this would be a way of putting ”him” to good use. At the very least, if a driver insists on using such devices while driving, he/she should be forced to pay the highest risk insurance rates.