August 30, 2013
Remote texters to be held liable for car accidents and the allowance of police officers to search your cell phone messages after an accident are the latest developments regarding the war on distracted driving. Tough call on this one. First, letís address the issue of being held partly responsible for knowingly texting a driver and resulting in a crash. It is considered reckless driving to text when behind the wheel. In New Jersey, due to several accidents caused by talking and texting, passed a law last year by Governor Guadagno, called A-1073 Ė Kulesh, Kubert and Bolisí Law, that enables prosecutors to charge distracted drivers with vehicular homicide or assault.
The individuals named were either killed or severely injured by a distracted driver that was talking or texting. Penalties arising from breaking the law include 5 to 10 years in jail, a fine that can be as high as $150,000, or the two combined. Now, these penalties can be imposed on someone who is sending a text message and knows that the receiving party is driving. Is this fair? New Jersey Governor Chris Christie believes itís solely the driverís responsibility. Please let us know your thoughts below.
As for the right for police officers to search your smartphone after an accident to see if you were engage in messaging should be allowed, is another topic of high debate. Again, New Jersey takes the forefront by introducing the Cell Phone Seizure Act. Though it has not been passed, if it were to, police would gain more power by having the ability to go through your phone at the scene of an accident. This bill can be interpreted as infringing on privacy and constitutional rights. Is it necessary to determine at the scene if a driver was texting? Can't a subpoena be issued for phone records? Let us know your opinions on this in the comment area.