On Friday, April 30, the governor signed into law the ban on texting while driving. The laws intent is noble, to save lives. The problem with the law is that it will be impossible to accurately enforce without completely demolishing our constitutional rights. The law makes it illegal to write or read a text or email message while driving. Using a GPS and using a cell phone are still legal. The law makes texting a primary offense, that means the police can stop you for it alone, just like a seatbelt violation. How can a police officer possibly know if you are dialing a phone number or texting, reading an email or looking at the GPS on your Blackberry?
They obviously can’t!
This law gives law enforcement a blank check to stop whoever they are suspicious of. Judges almost always side with the police. In car video cameras halted a lot of “pretextual” or profiling illegal stops of innocent motorists.
I read in the Free Press a quote from a local police chief,
“People can trust us to properly and fairly enforce this law.”
But I have seen enough police officers exaggerate and even lie while under oath with “an end justifies the means” attitude.
How can a citizen who is stopped on this accusation prove their innocence to the officer? A person could show the officer his cell phone to prove there were no recent texts or emails created or received. This of course would be giving the officer consent to search your cell phone and emails.
Most people might say that its worth the constitutional intrusion to save lives. And that if you have nothing to hide then who cares if the police look through your phone. But “most” people don’t have much to worry about.The poor and minorities are typically the subjects of profiling, not middle and upper class citizens.
It will be interesting to see how the police enforce this law and judges interpret it. If you have ever had a contested hearing on a traffic ticket then you know that cops hate to be told they’re wrong and judges almost always side with the police.
Well, we will see.
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