New Jersey Considers Allowing Police to Search Cellphones After Car Crashes

search thisReason 24/7Legislators in New Jersey are considering allowing police officers to search cellphones after crashes.

From the Star-Ledger:

License, registration and cell phone, please.

Police officers across New Jersey could be saying that to motorists at the scenes of car crashes if new legislation introduced in the state Senate becomes law.

The measure would allow cops — without a warrant — to thumb through a cell phone to determine if a driver was talking or texting when an accident occurred. It requires officers to have "reasonable grounds" to believe the law was broken.

Supporters say it could be an important tool for cops investigating crashes in a state where distracted driving causes lots of accidents and driving while using hand-held cell phones is illegal.

Opponents say it could touch off a contentious legal debate over whether giving officers such access violates a motorist’s right to privacy or protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

As the NSA revelations demonstrate, records of when texts are sent and phone calls are placed are available to law enforcement from phone companies. Supporters of the new search power don’t explain why police can’t seek those records with a warrant while investigating crashes. There were six fatalities in cellphone-related crashes in New Jersey in 2011 according to government statistics, out of a total fatality count of 627.

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  • Jordan||

    So what happens when you refuse to tell the officer your password to unlock your phone? Hasn't a federal court already ruled that the State can't compel you to cough up an encryption password?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Or you just refuse to admit you even have a phone?

  • Agammamon||

    No they didn't. They ruled that absent proof that the encrypted item is yours then you can't be compelled to provide access (violation of 5th amendment rights).

    However if there is proof that the item is yours then the courts have ruled that there is no extra incriminating factor in providing the key - whether or not there may be incriminating data on the device is not considered (beyond it being the reason that the police want access in the first place).

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    legal reasoning = FYTW

  • Fatty Bolger||

    "Subject was uncooperative and resisted arrest. Officers used hands-on control techniques and deployed OC to control and arrest subject."

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Stupid squirrels - that was a reply to Jordan.

  • sarcasmic||

    There were six fatalities in cellphone-related crashes in New Jersey in 2011 according to government statistics, out of a total fatality count of 627.

    Be careful what you believe with regard to these statistics. Quite often correlation is treated as causation. Not to mention the flat-out dishonesty involved like when someone runs a red light and hits someone who had a beer or two, the official record will say the accident was alcohol related. I wonder if it's the same deal, where someone runs a red light and kills someone, but because the dead driver had a cell phone in their hand the official record blames it on the phone.

  • Ed||

    And even given all that, it's just 1 percent of the total

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Yes, "cell-phone related", "alcohol related", are bullshit statistics.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Yes, "cell-phone related", "alcohol related", are bullshit statistics.

    Pretty much any statistic that includes the word "related" can be safely written off as cherry picked and manipulated. Gun grabbers love the "gun related" statistics.

    One guy gets arrested beating the shit out of another guy and he had a gun on him... Gun related violence.

    Someone gets busted with 2 grams of marijuana and was carrying... gun related drug charge.

    etc, etc, etc...

  • thom||

    Exactly. In what percentage of crashes a stereo system being used?

  • Rich||

    And don't forget about Caffiend. I'll bet that shit is involved in at least half of all traffic fatalities.

  • Agammamon||

    NHTSA has been known to fudge the data on alcohol to be able to get large DUI numbers.

    Their policy is to increase the number of incidents that can be labeled "alcohol related" (such as sober driver hits drunk pedestrian or cop mentions alcohol in the report even if its later refuted) and the conflate "alcohol related" with "DUI".

    The tactic is not limited to the NHTSA either - ephedrine got banned in the US because of fear of "ephedrine related" deaths.

  • Rich||

    Opponents say it could touch off a contentious legal debate over whether giving officers such access violates a motorist’s right to privacy or protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

    Now, *that* is funny!

  • Let Me Ride||

    OT: Just a reminder that Justin Bieber has already received more vagina than you could in 3 lifetimes. (Yeah, it's SFW)

  • Agammamon||

    No amount or quality of pussy could be worth having to go through life dressing like that douche.

  • Dweebston||

    Considering the status-signaling attire *normies* wear in pursuit of quality pussy, it's douchiness all the way down.

  • sarcasmic||

    Saw pictures of him clubbing with some skanks on the Daily Fail, and I was wondering to myself how many diseases the guy has by now. He's not old enough to drink yet he's probably got a raging case of herpes on his warts, not to mention a nightly IV of antibiotics.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    It requires officers to have "reasonable grounds" to believe the law was broken.

    "There was a crash. Therefor, I had reason to believe..."

    No potential for abuse in sight.

  • DaveSs||

    Why do they need your phone?

    They can just ask the NSA to check if you were texting around the time of the accident.

  • Adam330||

    Is there any way to tell if the device was being used in hands free mode?

  • ||

    Yeah, that's my question. Looking at my iPhone wouldn't tell you shit about whether I had actually been touching it or not.

  • Let Me Ride||

    Nikki, how do you keep changing your handle? I want a new identity since I don't feel sexxy any more. :(

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