Target: New Jersey State Legislature
Goal: Do not allow police officers to confiscate and search cell phones without warrants
Recently, a bill was proposed in New Jersey which would allow police to confiscate cell phones after a car crash. This bill would allow officers to see if the driver was texting or talking, which could have caused the crash. However, the bill will allow police to pry into many personal communications without a warrant. This is an extreme violation of citizens’ rights to privacy. This bill must not be passed.
The bill will allow officers to search through drivers’ cell phones at crash scenes. They will look through the phone’s history, and then be required to return it. However, the definition of the phone’s history is vague, and will allow officers to search through all call data and text messages, even those that have nothing to do with the crash. This information may implicate the phones’ owners in other crimes that they may not have committed. The bill gives the officers license to learn too much personal information about drivers. Officers will be able to pry into the private communications of a driver with no warrant or cause beyond the officer’s own suspicions.
While texting and driving is a large problem, invading the privacy of New Jersey drivers is not the way to solve it. The ACLU has already called the bill’s infringement of privacy rights ‘problematic’. There are also concerns about the bill’s ability to stop texting and driving. According to Steve Carrellas, the New Jersey representative of the National Motorists Association, ‘If you went all through what the bill is supposedly allowing, you still can’t determine if the person with the phone actually had a distraction that contributed to a crash.’ Receiving a text message does not mean the driver actually read the text message, but an officer could still use its existence to cite a driver for distracted driving. This bill is an extreme invasion of privacy, and will not solve the problem it is designed for. Tell the New Jersey State Legislature not to pass this bill.
Dear New York State Legislature:
Recently, a bill was introduced to you that will allow police to confiscate drivers’ cell phones after a car crash. Officers will be allowed to search through a phone’s history, such as call data and text messages. This will be an extreme invasion of privacy if the bill is passed, as the officers will not need a warrant or cause beyond their own judgment.
I ask you not to pass this bill. It will give police too much freedom to pry into the personal communications of drivers. Additionally, there is no proof that it will stop texting and driving. The presence of a text message on a phone does not mean the driver was reading it. This bill will invade the privacy of many people while doing nothing about the problem it intends to solve. Do not pass this bill.
[Your Name Here]