In a new case from the U.S. Supreme Court, Navarette v. California, it appears that persons who drive in an erratic manner due to cell phone usage, are in danger of being stopped by police officers. In this new case, a person was pulled over after an anonymous call to 911 stating that a driver drove her off the road. The police followed the driver, but did not see the him commit any more bad driving. Nonetheless, they stopped the vehicle on the basis of the 911 call. After the stop, the vehicle was searched and drugs were discovered. The Supreme Court ruled that the stop of the vehicle was justified because the bad driving could have indicated a drunk driver (although that was not true) and because the 911 system has features that discourage someone from making a false report. There was a strong dissenting opinion.
What this means is that anyone, including cell phone users, who drive erratically and are reported to the 911 system are subject to being legally stopped. Cell phone users who make a single bad move while talking or texting are in danger of being stopped by the police. Once a person is stopped in her car, the police may further detain that person if they develop reasonable suspicion that the person is breaking the law, or about to break the law. It does not matter that the person stopped is intoxicated or not. This puts all of us in danger of being stopped by the police if we make one erratic move in our vehicle and someone reports it to 911. We should all be very concerned about this development in the law.