Illinois Bill Would Ban On the Scene Photos: Rubbernecking vs Collecting Valuable Evidence


Illinois Bill Would Ban On the Scene Photos: Rubbernecking vs Collecting Valuable Evidence

The Illinois House of Representatives is considering legislation that would make illegal in the State of Illinois for drivers to take photographs or videos from cell phones at the scene of accidents. State Rep. Tom Holbrook of Belleville is sponsoring this bill, arguing that drivers shouldn’t rubberneck — it’s dangerous for drivers to take their eyes off the road. Specifically, the bill (HB1984, read full text and follow it here) inserts “digital photograph” and “video” into legislation that is being proposed that would fight against distracted driving involving texting, instant messaging (IMs), or emailing.  There’s another proposed statute that’s just been amended within the same bill to ban the use of cell phones within 500 feet of an Illinois accident scene. Evidence at Trial Begins at the Accident Scene There’s a reason why those scenes in CSI and Law and Order have all the cops and detectives and crime scene investigators wrapping the incident areas with yellow tape and banning everyone from going near the site.  Evidence must be protected — and most of the physical evidence is there at that scene of the crime. Similarly, in accidents, the physical evidence is there at the scene.  On the roadway, the truth about what happened to cause the injuries or wrongful death reveals itself.  Photographs and videos taken as close in time as possible to the event itself is critical to discovering what really happened. Insurance companies know this — that’s why they are notorious for having investigators on the scenes of accidents so fast that on occasion they beat law enforcement to the site.  Trucking companies instruct their truck drivers to let the company know immediately if they’re in an accident — so they can start their defense to any claim through the gathering of evidence as soon as possible. What Happens to Critical On the Scene Evidence if This Bill Becomes Law?  Plaintiffs Are Hurt. Rubbernecking can cause wrecks, that’s true.  However, the proposed legislation goes farther than that.  If it is passed, then critical evidence of all kinds of motor vehicle accidents will be outlawed.  This will serve only to hurt injury victims and their loved ones as they later try to prove their claims and obtain justice.  It’s harmful.

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