New legislation making its way through the New Jersey State Senate would allow police officers to search the cell phones of those involved in car accidents without a warrant, The Star-Ledger reported Monday.
The bill would allow officers to page through motoristsâ€™ cell phones to determine if they were distracted while driving.
â€œThink about it: The chances of the cop witnessing the accident are slim to none,â€ said the billâ€™s sponsor, state Sen. James Holzapfel. â€œHeâ€™s dispatched, and by the time he gets there â€” unless theyâ€™re unconscious and the phone is in their hands, or some passenger says they were on the phone â€” then heâ€™s got to do what? Subpoena the service to see if the phone was actively used or not?â€
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey has already spoken out in opposition to the measure, saying it is â€œlikely susceptible to a constitutional challenge,â€ The Star-Ledger reported.
â€œThis bill is problematic because it infringes on the privacy rights of citizens,â€ said Alexander Shalom, the ACLUâ€™s state policy counsel. â€œOur 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 cell phones.â€
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