Cell phone/driving: an officer's view

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I thought I would start a thread about an incident I encountered last week. Background: I am currently a patrol officer with 30 yrs experience. Cell phone use while driving is illegal and this includes texting/talking or holding any wireless communication device while driving. Driving is included to be stopped at a red light. In order to lawfully use your device, you must pull off to the side of the road, put your car in Park. I feel that cell phone use while driving is an epidemic and clearly constitutes distracted driving. Incident: I am driving a marked police cruiser and observe a driver stopped at a red light clearly talking on the cell phone. I pull the driver over and charge the driver with appropriate offence. The driver began to tell me that it wasn't fair because the driver's child had called for a ride home from school. We talked for a bit about blue tooth and hands free. But the point that struck me was that the driver felt that they were entitled to speak on the phone due to the nature of the call. I did not start this thread for Bitoger's to tell me I should have warned the driver. I would like to hear views from other drivers about why they text/talk while driving. Is the call or text that important? Thanks for taking the time to read this thread and I look forward to your responses.
 
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That's not an emergency. Unless the driver was on the way to the hospital or reporting an accident/medical emergency, ticket them.
 
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Well, you got it half right. It has been proven tht talking on a hands-free device is ALSO distracted driving. Think about it, if you're trying to listen closely to what somedone is telling you AND trying to formulate your reply, how much of your attention is really on the road and what's happening around you ?????????????
 
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As long as those in law enforcement continue to chat with their girlfriends/wives while operating their government provided motor vehicle I can only assume that it truly isnt' that grave of a danger. I would absolutely love to see the phone records of the thousands of cops who chat for hours on end while on duty. So to answer the question - my view is that you should conduct this survey in the locker room at your place of business.
 
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Its certainly true. I was driving yesterday and a 13' box truck in front of me was doing 24 in a 35 and weaving... the guy driving was talking on phone. He never even turned off(wasnt looking for an address) I have handsfree. When I answer the phone I tell them what do you want I'm driving make it fast. 10s later I'm off the phone. unless I'm sitting at a light, or driving an empty highway at night. I will let the call go on longer maybe 1-2m
 
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Glad to hear at least one officer thinks its serious. Illinois finally made it illegal to talk while driving but there is zero enforcement and it just comes off as an empty threat from our politicians.
 

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Originally Posted By: FowVay
As long as those in law enforcement continue to chat with their girlfriends/wives while operating their government provided motor vehicle I can only assume that it truly isnt' that grave of a danger. I would absolutely love to see the phone records of the thousands of cops who chat for hours on end while on duty. So to answer the question - my view is that you should conduct this survey in the locker room at your place of business.
This is so true. There is a do as I say, not as I do in policing. Even officers using their POVs off duty (I know quite a few) who drive excessively, relying upon the fact that they'll get a professional courtesy if stopped. So the point made is a good one, but the OP is trying to do his job and is enforcing the law correctly. I don't have an issue with hands free, because it's not necessarily different than having a conversation with someone in the car. But operating the vehicle outside of the rules due to a faulty interpretation is fair game. There probably is some reasonable flexibility for the situation, but the laws are what they are.
 
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Originally Posted By: FowVay
As long as those in law enforcement continue to chat with their girlfriends/wives while operating their government provided motor vehicle I can only assume that it truly isnt' that grave of a danger. I would absolutely love to see the phone records of the thousands of cops who chat for hours on end while on duty. So to answer the question - my view is that you should conduct this survey in the locker room at your place of business.
Hitting The Nail On The Head.... I have seen our local police constantly using their cell phones while driving, i'm willing to bet none of it is duty related. I do believe its a dangerous thing to do, and offenders should be fined for doing so.
 
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I don't answer the phone, look at email or text while driving. It's against my state law, and a violation of my companies policies. Just too dangerous, and besides, with the electronic fingerprinting available, it's too easy to prove you were distracted. For example, nephew totals a Corvette. Black box on the Vette showed excess speed, and cell records showed he was on the phone. Insurance balked, the police had proof, and it was all over but the crying at that point.
 
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Originally Posted By: FowVay
As long as those in law enforcement continue to chat with their girlfriends/wives while operating their government provided motor vehicle I can only assume that it truly isnt' that grave of a danger. I would absolutely love to see the phone records of the thousands of cops who chat for hours on end while on duty. So to answer the question - my view is that you should conduct this survey in the locker room at your place of business.
I agree 100% here. I live in the same province as the OP and see OPP and local police yapping on cell phones regularly while driving.
 
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Originally Posted By: FowVay
As long as those in law enforcement continue to chat with their girlfriends/wives while operating their government provided motor vehicle I can only assume that it truly isnt' that grave of a danger.
I suspect they talk to other officers about subjects they don't want recorded on a tape for future use as evidence like would happen if they used their official radio channels.
 
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Legitimate use of a cell phone is a 15-20 second call for the exchange of info. Eg where are you, get a gallon of milk on the way please. But there should be a 25-50 cent a minute fee that goes into a kitty to cover underinsured motorist claims. Watch a 5pm commute and everyone is on their phones complaining about their bosses or husbands or whatever... it's the only private time they get in their day. Thing is, face your problems, then you won't have to complain about them!
 
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Personally I never use a cell phone while driving, as I think it is dangerous as all****. But the one thing I don't understand is why it would be unlawful to use a hands free device? I can't see any difference between that and talking to another person in the car. Maybe even less dangerous, as many people tend to look at the person they are talking to.
 
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Originally Posted By: loyd
Well, you got it half right. It has been proven tht talking on a hands-free device is ALSO distracted driving. Think about it, if you're trying to listen closely to what somedone is telling you AND trying to formulate your reply, how much of your attention is really on the road and what's happening around you ?????????????
So no talking to passengers. Gimme a break with that control freak logic.
 
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Originally Posted By: dernp
I thought I would start a thread about an incident I encountered last week. Background: I am currently a patrol officer with 30 yrs experience. Cell phone use while driving is illegal and this includes texting/talking or holding any wireless communication device while driving. Driving is included to be stopped at a red light. In order to lawfully use your device, you must pull off to the side of the road, put your car in Park. I feel that cell phone use while driving is an epidemic and clearly constitutes distracted driving. Incident: I am driving a marked police cruiser and observe a driver stopped at a red light clearly talking on the cell phone. I pull the driver over and charge the driver with appropriate offence. The driver began to tell me that it wasn't fair because the driver's child had called for a ride home from school. We talked for a bit about blue tooth and hands free. But the point that struck me was that the driver felt that they were entitled to speak on the phone due to the nature of the call. I did not start this thread for Bitoger's to tell me I should have warned the driver. I would like to hear views from other drivers about why they text/talk while driving. Is the call or text that important? Thanks for taking the time to read this thread and I look forward to your responses.
I am so glad you brought this up. There is so much baloney going around about cell phones, distracted driving, blah, blah, blah. What a bunch of hooey. Now, as a patrol officer, it's your job to enforce the law, so this is not a direct criticism of you. Someone breaks the law, you are supposed to intervene. Fine. However, it's not possible to legislate or regulate all danger out of existence. There are poor drivers who can be distracted by almost anything, or who drive poorly whether distracted or not. As long as they are given licenses, they will cause accidents. Sure, I've missed an exit because I was talking on the phone. I've also missed exits because I was listening to something on the radio, or simply deep in thought. Am I a distracted driver? Sometimes, so's everybody. If you want to get rid of distracted driving, sure, ban phones, ban radios, ban kids in the car (talk about a distraction!), ban coffee, sodas, food, cigarettes, any sort of cargo (groceries) that can shift, ban discussion with others in the car (I've heard this one proposed), and so on. I bet if you did all of those things, the accident rate wouldn't dip very much. Distracted driving is already illegal, regardless of the cause. If you're swerving around the freeway, or otherwise driving erratically, you should expect to attract the attention of the local gendarmes. Somewhere, there should be a line between force and personal responsibility. Having said all that, one doesn't get to choose which laws one obeys. That's why I already have a couple of bluetooth devices, and I'm still looking for one that really works in the environments where I need one. And yes, I see cops all the time talking on cell phones while driving patrol cars.
 
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RIGHT! and personally I know that with nobody else in the car and therefore just bored and daydreaming I was more distracted than talking to an actual person. But I guess until they can read our thought waves they won't be able to regulate that...... BUT I still think using a regular cell phone while driving should be a BIG fine.
 
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it is dangerous, especially texting but in Chicago cops are by far the biggest offenders. they are always on their phones. fine should be double because they should know better. or how about when cops in my neighborhood park in either handicap spots or in front of fire hydrants while taking their 1 hr lunch break or one of their many other breaks? completely bogus double standard. the corruption runs deep meanwhile you call to have them ticket the group of 8 rice burner punks in the alley whoare 3 min long burnouts at 3am? Ha, do you really think they are going to put down the coffee and donut? I personally know a few CPD officers, they brag about how much downtime they have and I mentioned specific examples, they said unless someone was shot or you have called for the same issue 10 times in the last hour no one is going to come.
 
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The driver should thank you, next time he/she might kill an innocent person. I hope you gave the driver the biggest ticket possible. They should also ban blue tooth and hands free too, still causes distraction. People are so important today that a second can't go by without them talking or texting, amazing. I wish I was that important.
 
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This is why I love accessories to wireless technology, like hands free devices!!! Press a button to talk/end or use voice commands for everything, it's not hard to do and they are cheap to buy, cheaper than a ticket.... At least Ontario hasn't banned them yet!!!!!
 
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A few months ago, I almost got wiped out by a Fort Worth Police officer. She whipped out in front of me like no one was there. Fortunately I was already slowing for the redlight at the next intersection. I pulled alongside her and all I could see was the officer typing with one hand on the center mounted laptop and having a very animated conversation with a large (ie: Samsung Galaxy) smartphone pressed against her head. Looked like she was laughing. I stayed a safe distance back. She drove about 20 over the speed limit weaving all over the lane. Anybody else doing that would have had to have perform a field sobriety test. I should have reported her car number.
 
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