News

N.J. Bill Seeks Crackdown On Distracted Driving By Forcing Drivers To Hand Over Phones

Legal Experts See Possible Showdown Pitting Safety Vs. Fourth Amendment

TRI-STATE NEWS HEADLINES

From our newsroom to your inbox weekday mornings at 9AM.
Sign Up
Check These Out

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — License, registration and your cellphone, please.

Police in New Jersey may soon be allowed to search your cellphone after an accident.

A bill proposed Monday in the New Jersey State Senate would require drivers involved in an accident to hand over their phones — no warrant necessary.

Motorists were mixed on the proposal aimed at cracking down on distracted driving.

“I think it is kind of fair because if you are paying attention to the road, the phone shouldn’t matter,” driver Omar Ali told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

“I think it’s OK, it’s an excellent deterrent,” Lenore Zarin agreed.

But other drivers said the proposal seems like an invasion of privacy.

“I’m against that. You can’t just take my phone out unless I’m doing something wrong with it,” Ron Tillman of Piscataway told Dennis.

State Sen. James Holzapfel (R-Ocean County) introduced the measure over concerns about the rise in accidents linked to texting and calling while driving.

WEB EXTRA: Read The Bill (pdf)

Bill S2783 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.”