Despite a ban in most states on texting and talking on a handheld device while driving, cell phone use while on the road is still a problem. Concerned about the increased auto accidents linked to texting and talking while driving, New Jersey State Senator James Holzapfel (R) has proposed Bill S2783 which 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.”
If approved, police would be able to thumb through calls and texts in order to determine if the driver was guilty of distracted driving. No warrant would be required.
Motorists are mixed on the proposal. While some are in favor of the bill, others say it is an invasion of privacy. Still others say it is in violation of the Fourth Amendment which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.
This proposal could prompt other states to consider similar measures. Whether you live in New Jersey or not, what do you think? Do you think this bill is a valid way to determine if a driver is at fault? Is it an effective to fight against distracted driving? Does it violate one’s rights under the 4th Amendments? How would you vote?
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.