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Does new technology in New Jersey require new law?

June 19, 2013

While it seems like they have been around forever, cellphones are relatively newer inventions, and the capabilities of these mobile devices continue to increase exponentially. There are certainly a large number of benefits to using these devices, but the problems that have been created along with them are opening up new discussions under the law.

Take talking or texting while driving. The behavior has shown to significantly increase the chances for causing a car accident. Texting alone raises the risk for a collision by 23 percent. As safety becomes even more concerning, lawmakers in New Jersey continuously try to figure out the best way to handle the situation.

The most recent proposed law would give patrol officers in the state the authority to search a driver’s cellphone after an accident while still on the scene. The new law would not give them blanket authority, but would require at least probable cause to suspect that the driver had been distracted at the time.

Many people support the idea behind the law, but it also raises questions for some. Lawmakers, state officials and other concerned parties are currently having a discussion over the balance between the need to prevent these actions and the privacy rights of the drivers.

Accessing a cellphone information can not only show that a text message was sent, but also the time that it was sent. Could faster access to this information during accident investigation by police help in the civil process for personal injury compensation as well?

Source: Latinos Post, “New Proposed NJ Law Would Allow Police To Search Phones After Accidents To Confirm Distracted Driving,” June 17, 2013

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