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.”
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