License, registration...and cellphone

Many states, such as New York, have penalties for texting while driving. One lawmaker in New Jersey is trying to take this one step further.

Texting while driving is dangerous, and a new report from the American Automobile Association suggests that even using voice commands to control your device is dangerous too.

So will a driver's cell records soon become part of investigating accidents? A state lawmaker in New Jersey has proposed a bill to allow law enforcement to confiscate a phone if they have "reasonable grounds" to believe it contributed to a crash.

Udi Ofer of New Jersey's American Civil Liberties Union says this is not a good idea.

"This bill would side-step basic and long held constitutional protection.”

Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, for instance. But in New Jersey alone in 2011, highway safety organizations estimate there were nearly 2,000 accidents caused by handheld devices.

Click on the audio player above to hear more about how you can take steps in your own life to limit distractions while driving.

About the author

Ben Johnson is the host of Marketplace Tech.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...