An example of hype leading to a cause which leads to a charge that leads to a law that violates your rights. Texting while driving.

There aren’t that many accidents.  If fact, to bolster the claim that there are, the people who turned texting while driving into a crisis bunches the texting into all the other “distracted driver” causes.  For example, reading, talking, eating, changing the stereo, dealing with your kids, etc. Even then I think the numbers are not that big. But don’t the the politicians trying to justify your votes hear that.  They want to be on the front end of this. So much so they are willing to write a law that violates the Constitution.

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.

I watched FOX with two attorneys taking opposite sides, the one who found it too intrusive won easily.  There is case law saying the police cannot search a phone for evidence of a crime when dealing with drug transactions and that argument can be made far easier than saying the police can assume if you wreck your phone caused it.

The problem is the phone holds more data than just if the person was texting at the time of the accident.  Now if the police want to go to a judge and secure a warrant to get the data from the phone company as to what the person was doing at the time of the accident, then go for it. That is an investigation.  Having the police just look at it because it is easier is just lazy policing.

But what this also does is point out how easily a legal act can become an illegal act by the hand of a few politically aggressive politicians.  A good reminder for those of you who think the government taking your data because it can is okay “because you aren’t doing anything wrong.”

Today that is.



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