Walnut Creek DUI Attorney Challenges Validity of Distracted Driving Laws

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Distracted driving laws infringe upon civil rights.

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Without question driving while texting is dangerous, but an additional risk not considered by most people is the effect of increased regulation further eroding our civil rights?

68,000 California drivers were issued citations for distracted driving last month. The vast majority of these citations were for texting while driving – a violation that can have severe safety risks according to some officials. But the numbers, released by the California Office of Traffic Safety, do not reflect another significant risk – civil rights violations – according to local attorney Peter Johnson, General Partner of The Law Office of Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson contends that distracted driving laws are being abused by law enforcement. Distracted driving laws are meant to discourage a number of risky behaviors on the road, including texting, talking on a cell phone, and eating behind the wheel. But they are also used as a basis for conducting a pretext stop for to engage in unwarranted investigations and searches when the driver and passengers haven't necessarily done anything wrong.

“These laws give police officers yet another pretext to fabricate traffic stops,” Johnson said. “People are stopped every day for suspected cell phone use or other diversions and then subjected to interrogation for unrelated matters and to searches of their automobiles and of their person. Without question driving while texting is dangerous, but an additional risk not considered by most people is the effect of increased regulation further eroding our civil rights?”

According to Johnson, pretext stops resulting in civil rights violations are common with law enforcement. These laws provide the officers with yet another means of justifying illegal conduct. There are other ways to manage the risk of cell phone use in the car without resorting to giving police more power.

Johnson suggests that cell phone and automobile manufactures should be required to install the technology they likely already possess. Meeting the demands of technology with the resources of technology seems a better solution than tempting officers who believe the “ends justify the means,” Johnson said. Such technological solutions could include features such as better speaker modes for cell phones and hands-free texting.

About Peter Johnson:

Peter Johnson is an experienced attorney in criminal defense and civil rights focusing his practice largely on DUI/DWI cases. In his quest to understand how technology affects traffic law he has completed advanced training in Field Sobriety Testing, Drug testing, Breath tests and blood analysis for alcohol. He has been practicing law in California since 1993. Johnson can be contacted at his office at (925)-952-8900.

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