The New York State Assembly is proposing a bill, sponsored by New York State Senator Terrence Murphy, to allow the police the right to electronically search your mobile phone with a device called a “Textalyzer” to determine if you were using it during a motor vehicle accident. Such inspection would be without a search warrant and as the bill is proposed now only subsequent to an accident. Refusal to surrender a mobile device in your possession for this inspection to the police will result in a suspension of your driver’s license. The bill is being written akin to the “implied consent” regulation similar to submission to a chemical blood alcohol test after being arrested for DWI.
“Implied consent” is a way to do an end run around the protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. The legal principal is that driving is a licensed privilege and not a right and, as a condition of the privilege you have already given your implied consent for a cop to search your electronic devices as part of an accident investigation to determine whether it was in use prior to the accident.
If you live in New York State we are of the opinion that you have to contact your state representative as well as Senator Murphy via e-mail here: firstname.lastname@example.org and voice your opposition to this bill. This is because phones are ALWAYS in use while driving. Just because a phone is in use does not mean that the driver was engaging in prohibited conduct. A phone is constantly searching for cell towers and WiFi hot spots. It can be receiving e-mail and / or text messages. You can have an app open. All of this can be going on while the phone is in your pocket. Furthermore, you may be engaged in a call on a blue tooth hands free. This is thoroughly permissible and legal conduct.
In addition, what is the FIRST THING people do when they are in an accident. They use their cell phones to call the authorities. So OF COURSE their is going to show cell phone using at or near the time of the accident. Consequently, how can the police possibly figure out whether or not the phone was being used at all, used in prohibition of the cell phone law, or used prior to or after the accident? In addition, it’s a slippery slope. Today it’s only subsequent to an accident. Tomorrow it is valid during a cell phone violation investigation without an accident.
That we are opposed to this bill does not imply that we are opposed to law enforcement or support illegal use of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. While we take pride in representing the motoring public and save them valuable time and money through or endeavors, we also fully support law enforcement. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, our opposition to this proposed law is in direct conflict to our economic interests. If this law is enacted it will provide us with another lucrative income stream.
No, we are opposed to it because it will be ineffective to determine illegal cell phone use prior to an accident, and as such inherently unfair to the motoring public.
If you were given a ticket, whether or not you believe it was justified or unjustified, you always need to protect your motoring and economic interests. Before you do anything Contact us for a no cost, no obligation phone consultation. We will go to court for you and in most cases offer a money back guarantee.
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