A scary, hypothetical situation involving phone metadata

***As a disclaimer, this is just a hypothetical situation and their hasn't been a similar real life situation to my knowledge

First, some introductory information:

Say you are a safety conscious, law-abiding citizen. You are someone that never texts or talks while driving because you understand how dangerous it can be. However, in certain emergency situations you will stop off on the side of the road to send a text or make a call that just cannot wait.

Knowing the information above, consider the following situation:

            You are coming home from work late and you remember that you forgot to send a text message to your wife/husband saying that you were leaving from work late and you would be on your way home soon. So you stop off on the side of the road to send the message. Just minutes after setting off again, you get in a bad car crash that involves injuries. In the court case following the crash, the prosecution gets your phone metadata to determine if you were texting or talking and if those actions subsequently caused the crash. They then find that you were texting minutes before the crash. Even though you make the defense that you had stopped to send the message, as of right now, the government is not taking location metadata from cars and you cannot actually prove that the car was at a full stop when the message was sent. Also, the prosecution argues that inaccuracies in metadata could possibly be up to something around 2 minutes. This means that it was more likely that you were texting at the time of the crash. The jury concludes that you are guilty, you are charged for the causing the crash and you are sent to jail.

As it stands right now, this situation is very possible but what makes even scarier is that it could happen to literally anyone. Not just the nerdy guys that mess around on the internet or the people that torrent tons of movies, this could be anyone. Almost everyone seems to have a brand new phone with GPS capabilities, but not everyone has a state-of-the-art car.

This is just an example situation that was originally thought of my dad and I thought it was really relevant to the surveillance state in the U.S.A. So, I thought I would put down in words and share it to some people that might care more than the average person. Please post what you think below and thanks for reading.

ISnt using the shoulder for a non-emergency like texting still illegal..? If your car is being in-use, it is illegal, at least in ohio. shoulder or not. Unless your car is broken down or something.

I don't think that just saying there was a text sent from your phone around the time of the crash would prove beyond reasonable doubt that you were texting and driving. Even if you had the exact time the text was sent there's not really any way of knowing the exact time of the crash. Furthermore there would be other evidence to show who was at fault in the crash, so unless you were actually at fault anyway then it shouldn't really matter.

If you're worried about stuff like this then you should probably use a dashcam.

It would depend on the law of whatever country you are in. 

You can use the hard shoulder in Australia

You would have to be PROVEN beyond reasonable doubt to have been using the phone at the time of the crash.  Metadata would not be enough - you would have to be either seen to be holding the phone or have a call in progress at the time of the crash.

In New Zealand, It is illegal to use a phone in the driver seat of a car that is running. It is also illegal to stop on the side of the road on a motorway if its a non emergency. Cops here also will fine you for using your phone in your car parked on the side of the motorway if its not an emergency.


Also, As said before, it would be hard to determine if a text was the cause, unless you were sent to the ER, and had an unfinished text on-screen when they found you.