New Jersey lawmakers ponder law confiscating cell phone after crash

In New Jersey, one person dies every day in a car accident according to the New Jersey Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash Report for 2011. A crash is a common scene in Morris County and one of the responsibilities of law enforcement is to determine how the car accident occurred. However, this is not always an easy task as drivers may not be truthful as to what they were doing before the crash happened.

Confiscation of cell phone bill

According to CNN, New Jersey State Sen., James Holzapfel, has introduced a legislative bill that would enable law enforcement to confiscate a driver's cell phone after an accident. If passed, New Jersey would become the first state to have such a law and could provide valuable information as to the serious role that distracted driving really is in the Garden State. Law enforcement would be able to determine if the person was talking on their cell phone or texting at the time of the crash; the cell phone would be returned to the driver after being examined.

The bill has already attracted opponents who feel that such a law would be an invasion of a person's constitutional rights. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey hinted that if the bill is passed by the legislature and signed into law a lawsuit would likely be filed, questioning its constitutionality.

Distracted driving increasing

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association distracted driving is a leading factor in crashes, contributing to serious injury and the death of innocent victims. A 2011 report assembled by GHSA on the topic of distracted driving released the following findings:

  • Up to half the time, people are distracted when behind the wheel of a vehicle.
  • Texting likely increases the risk of getting into a crash over cell phone use.
  • Distraction negatively affects driving performance.
  • 15-25 percent of all crashes are estimated to be associated with distracted driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that distracted driving is any kind of behavior that can take a person's eyes, hands, and mind off of driving-related activity. While there are other kinds of distracted actions such as eating, doing one's grooming tasks and talking to passengers, texting is considered the most dangerous since it incorporates all three types of distraction.

Challenges for victims

Injuries sustained in car accidents involving drivers who are texting or talking on their cell phones can be severe, creating many challenges for victims. Often, the driver at fault is driving at full speed when the collision occurs and it is not uncommon for victims to suffer head injuries, broken bones and even permanent disability. In addition victims often face monetary challenges in trying to meet their normal financial responsibilities while paying for medical care.

If you have been injured in a car accident you should meet with an experienced attorney in your area for legal advice on how to seek compensation for your pain and suffering.