AL lawmakers respond to bill allowing police to take cell - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

AL lawmakers respond to bill allowing police to take cell phones at wrecks

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Source: MGN Online Source: MGN Online

A New Jersey lawmaker has introduced legislation that would give police the right to take cell phones at the scene of crash sites. The officer would have access to the drivers call log to see if the phone played a part in the wreck. But lawmakers in the Tennessee Valley said they don't see a bill like that passing here.

"The short answer is it's probably something that would be very difficult to pass in Alabama," said Senator Arthur Orr (R., Decatur - District 3)

 Orr said a bill like that could be a violation of the Constitution.

"I think there is a problem with the 4th amendment, the searches and seizures law allowing a law enforcement officer just to take someone's cell phone after a traffic accident."

The bill was introduced by New Jersey State Senator Jim Holzapfel. Under the bill, police at crash sites would need a reasonable suspicion that talking or texting played a role in the wreck. Then they would be able to view the drivers call log.

Orr said that officers could always get cell phone records after a crash through a district attorney. 

"Even the traffic accident report is not admissible in a court of law here in Alabama and that's because the officer is getting it all second hand that he or she did not witness it so he doesn't know if an individual was texting or not and that just goes to say it would be very problematic to all them to take cell phones," he said.  "Just the mere presence of a phone in someone's hand does not mean they were negligent."

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