Bill Could Allow New Jersey Police to Search Your Phone After an Accident

A bill has been introduced in the New Jersey state legislature that will allow police to legally search through your cell phone without a warrant if you’ve been in a car accident. This is an effort to combat the very serious problem of texting and driving which has been responsible for thousands of accidents and hundreds of deaths on New Jersey’s roads last year. While texting and driving is already illegal in 41 states, it is very hard to charge people for it in court unless someone confesses to doing so. If police are able to search a phone at the scene of an accident and find a text message being composed or sent at the time of the accident they can can charge the driver with the crime. The language of the bill makes it clear that phones may only be searched for this purpose.

There is no doubt that the intent of the bill is a noble one and meant to deter a very dangerous behavior. However, the bill directly contradicts the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution which mandates that any search of personal property requires a judicial warrant. There is also concern that police may abuse the new authority that they’ve been given and exceed the scope of what they’re allowed to search for in your phone. Some legal experts have speculated that if this bill is passed, the legal challenges to it can make it all the way to the Supreme Court. No matter how you may feel about this proposal, the fact remains that you should NEVER text and drive no matter what the circumstances may be.


Don’t ever do that. Seriously.

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