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License. Registration. Cellphone?

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cellphoneTRENTON, N.J. — You’ve been in an accident. The police officer goes through the normal drill, asking for your license and registration.

Then she goes a step further. “Could I have your cellphone, please?” she says.

New legislation proposed by a New Jersey state Sen. James Holzapfel would let cops confiscate cellphones if they have “reasonable grounds” to believe that the driver was talking or texting when the wreck occurred.

Officers would be required to return the phone after thumbing through its history.

“A lot of your accidents are happening due to distracted driving,” Fair Lawn Police Sgt. Brian Metzler told CNN affiliate News 12. The trick, he said, is proving it.

“They’re just going to say they’re not paying attention. ‘Were you on the cellphone?’ ‘No, I wasn’t the cellphone’ and it ends right there.”

The legislation is designed to cut down on distracted driving. But it comes at a time when revelations that the government has been monitoring our phone calls and online activities have shaken our sense of privacy.

The bill set off alarm bells with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.

“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,” said Alexander Shalom of the ACLU-NJ.

“The legislature cannot authorize searches unless there is probable cause, therefore the bill is likely susceptible to a constitutional challenge.”

For more on this CNN story, click here.

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  • CLL

    This should be a law nationwide and NO you can't delete history fast enough. The officer can see you fiddling with your phone and you will get the ticket anyway!!! As you should! The fines should be way higher than they are.

  • JoJo

    I think it is a ridiculous and pointless idea. You can very quickly erase your history and a cop is not going to notice that you are fiddling with your phone especially if you have it below the window and he may just think you are searching for your ID or insurance info…I certainly do NOT want a stranger looking through my call or text history