N.J. lawmakers consider new cell phone and car accident law
Driving is considered a privilege and to some might even be a luxury. New Jersey residents and drivers across the nation sometimes take this privilege for granted. Driving comes with a lot of responsibilities, and when a driver is not being cautious and is distracted, a car accident often ensues. Distracted driving, particularly texting while driving, is a huge concern plaguing the nation. When a driver is not aware of their surroundings and is focused on their phone, their life and the lives of others are put at risk.
Texting while driving has become a huge issue in the state of New Jersey. As the law currently stands, texting and talking on a handheld cell phone is illegal, but legislators are still concerned about drivers not abiding this law. Legislators are now considering a law that would allow police officers to search the driver’s phone without a warrant. This would have to follow a car accident and the officer will have to suspect that the driver was texting and driving.
Supporters and opponents for this legislation have surfaced after this proposed legislation was publicized. Those who support the new law indicate that it is an important investigatory tool for police officers, will help deter distracted drivers and promote the following of current state laws. Opponents state that it could conflict with privacy and constitutional rights.
Although there is debate about the law being passed, when a driver is found guilty of distracted driving they can also be found liable for any injuries, damages or deaths that resulted from the car crash. A person injured by a negligent driver could file a personal injury claim. This could result in a monetary award and would go towards medical bills, damages and pain and suffering.
Laws are put in place to promote safe habits. Texting and talking on the phone while driving is very dangerous and should be avoided.
Source: Reason 24/7, “New Jersey Considering Law to Allow Warrantless Search of Cellphones After Crash,” June 10, 2013