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Georgia Cop Issues 800 Tickets To Drivers Texting At Red Lights 1440

Posted by timothy
from the making-it-up-in-volume dept.
McGruber writes "WSB-Television, Atlanta, tells us that Gwinnett County police officer Jessie Myers has issued more tickets for texting and driving than any other officer in the state. Officer Myers said he sees most people typing away on their phones while waiting at red lights. 'Most people think they're safe there,' Myers said. However, he said it's still illegal. 'At a red light, you're still driving, according to the law. You're on a roadway, behind (the wheel of) a car, in charge of it, with a vehicle in drive,' Myers said. Myers also tickets drivers using navigation apps. One driver said she was just using her phone's GPS. The law forbids that and Myers issued her a ticket. "That's right. You can't use your navigation while driving. Unless it is a GPS-only device, such as Garmin or Tom Tom, something that is not used as a communication device,' Myers said."
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Georgia Cop Issues 800 Tickets To Drivers Texting At Red Lights

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  • A law for everyone (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:46AM (#44933057)

    Good thing that the in-vehicle computers that cops use to check someone's plates isn't covered by this.

    Hypocrites. Who will write them tickets?

  • by jonpublic (676412) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:54AM (#44933123)

    As a pedestrian I say great. People shouldn't be texting or checking their phones while driving. While folks might think it's safe at an intersection, I disagree.

    I've almost been hit a number of times as drivers inch through a cross walk when they aren't paying attention. Or they turn on red and don't pay attention. It's super dangerous.

  • by tepples (727027) <> on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:56AM (#44933143) Homepage Journal
    If you have a manual, you have P on your handbrake.
  • by GeekWithAKnife (2717871) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:09AM (#44933321)

    Sometimes police abuse their position or become oppressive in measures inadvertently. Still as far as texting is concerned I think this should be punished in a more severe manner.

    I know I know, people say what's the harm right?!

    It only takes one time that you have almost killed someone or yourself due to texting to finally admit you are increasing risk to yourself and others. Texting goes a step beyond the distraction of hands free phones because you are occupying at least one hand and looking elsewhere than what's in front of you.

    Over the years I have had several near misses and dangerous situations because of drivers that are texting, holding phones and generally not only preoccupied mentally with the conversation but also physically with no hands on the wheel.

    Some texting ass nearly killed a cyclist one day as he slowly drove out of his lane and into a bicycle lane, just a 20cm or so is all it took. He held the steering wheel between his knees and was using his phone with both hands! -Do you think he would have gotten off the hook cause the cyclist didn't wear a helmet?

    I know that you can text, stopped at a light (presumably only there) and nothing will happen. Harmless right? until that time that your clutch is raised ever so slightly and you rear into the car behind you or you didn't notice the cyclist creeping from the side, or the motorcyclists between your car and another...
    You can imagine the scenarios. It's not about the 10,000 times it went right, it's about the one time it doesn't.

    Feel this is unjustified? I welcome you to cycle or operate a two wheel vehicle for a time and see if that changes your mind. Let's remember that there are no such situations in which you must to text when you drive or are operating a vehicle. It's an action you can entirely do without. you can "like this" or comment that witticism later.

    At the end of the day this is my life and I can do everything right on the road and still get hurt or worse because of someone else. If it was your life would you accept me texting or possibly putting you in danger? putting your children in danger?
  • Re:jerk (Score:4, Informative)

    by tedgyz (515156) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:20AM (#44933437) Homepage

    None of those issues make the top 15 causes of death [], whereas accidents are #5.

  • by sjames (1099) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:23AM (#44933487) Homepage

    *IF* the person puts the phone down and goes when the light changes, I have no problem with texting at a red light. I'd sure prefer it to texting while the vehicle is in motion.

    If the person holds up traffic because they kept texting, then write a ticket for obstructing traffic.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Informative)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <> on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:35AM (#44933735)

    There was a death caused exactly by that dring my journey in the UK yesterday - coming off a motor way, someone was texting while waiting for the lights on the slip road and didn't notice the lights had gone green and all the cars had cleared in front of them, and they got rear ended.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Informative)

    by cjjjer (530715) <> on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:42AM (#44933907)
    Based on your example you know nothing about the police force and how it's structured.

    First the cops that you see driving around in marked cars are actually tasked (for the most part) to uphold public *law enforcement* which includes traffic laws. While most of the examples you have given *could* be stopped if the crime committed is in progress by a beat cop the majority are up to detectives and special divisions of the police force to handle/solve, which you usually don't see driving around in marked cars.

    So the so called cops you are complaining about are in fact doing the job for their position.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:43AM (#44933935)

    Manual transmission here in Ireland. The law is that when you are stopped at a red light (or for extended periods of time) that you must engage the handbrake and disengage the gears (neutral).
    You can keep an eye on the lights as to when it's about to go green for you but in the half a second that it takes to put the car into first, is it really that bad compared to clumsy feet drivers?
    Before you go calculating how many half seconds you could save per traffic light, consider that in the UK the amber light is illuminated whilst the red is in order to indicate to the driver that the lights will soon change to green.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bardez (915334) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:47AM (#44934015) Homepage
    That's not the texting driver's fault, though. That's the asshat that rear-ended them's fault.
  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Informative)

    by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:47AM (#44934025)

    Hes doing his job, whether you like it or not. Dont blame the police for laws you dont like.

    I can blame him. Because he uses excuses like these:

    'At a red light, you're still driving. according to the law. You're on a roadway, behind (the wheel of) a car, in charge of it, with a vehicle in drive,'

    There's a difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. Assholes like this guy who are more interested in the letter of the law are the reasons why laws get so complicated you need lawyers to interpret them. You can't just write a law that says, "it's illegal to text and drive." You have to define what constitutes driving, and then write an exception for being stopped at a light. Having every law consist of 30 pages of legalize is not in the best interests of society.

    Why is texting and driving dangerous? Because every moment you're not looking in front of you, your car is covering a rather large distance. Unexpected things happen in the blink of an eye. If you're not moving, that's not an issue. His actions are not consistent with the spirit of the law. It's very reasonable to blame him.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Informative)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @10:12AM (#44934551) Journal

    Actually it does matter. I have had cars stall and fail when attempting to accelerate from a stop. Discovered the spark plugs got fouled because of a blocked EGR valve. The car ran fine until that moment.

    It is 100% the responsibility of the driver who collided with the obstruction for colliding with a non-moving obstruction. The person sitting at a light could be cited for obstruction of traffic; however that does not move the blame for the collision onto him. A person sitting at a light being a dufus could easily be a disabled car, a cop car, a deer, a construction worker, a driver experiencing a heart attack, or any number of things that the next driver needs to remain aware of and react appropriately to.

    Or are you the type that also blames gun manufacturers for murders?

  • Re:jerk (Score:4, Informative)

    by notanalien_justgreen (2596219) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @10:16AM (#44934639)

    You aren't legally allowed to ram people who don't accelerate as fast as you'd like. It's 100% the rear-enders fault. Legally anyway...

  • by swb (14022) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @10:20AM (#44934721)

    I have a friend who is a police officer and when I asked him why a neighboring suburb (Edina, MN) was so aggressive about traffic tickets. He lives there (but is an officer in Minneapolis) and said that only a couple of locations are they actually interested in the "safety" component of traffic citations.

    He says the rest are just about opportunities to "interview" drivers to fish for other charges -- drugs, drunk driving, etc. He says that some of the speed traps around Southdale shopping mall area nab shoplifters occasionally -- he says they find 10 of the same clothing item in a car and if the guy can't provide a receipt they confiscate the stuff, book the driver on suspicion of shoplifting and impound the car.

    It's basically just another kind of "papiere, bitte" situation.

  • by steelfood (895457) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @10:41AM (#44935141)

    You forget the fact that the driving test for normal people is a joke. The driving test for cops is not. So unless you want to pass the cop's driving test to able to drive, you're not going to have the same privileges such as speeding, using a computer while driving, shooting while driving, communicating over the radio while driving, intentionally causing accidents, or any other such law enforcement tasks.

    Maybe if the driving test for normal people were as stringent as that for the cops, there'd be something. Or, if the driving test for cops in that local jurisdiction was as easy as simply going around a few cones, you'd have a point. But I know the former is untrue anywhere in the states, and I seriously doubt the latter.

    I can't believe I'm defending them, but there are arguable issues, and then there's nonsense.

  • Re:jerk (Score:2, Informative)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @12:01PM (#44936719) Journal

    No, not really. They share responsibility for "obstructing traffic", i.e. for being inconvenient. That's it. That's 100% of their responsibility.

    If some guy, being a mouth-breathing moron with downs, slam your car into the back of their car at 60mph, that's 100% your fault. The insurance company will rightly blame you 100% for hitting them. That's not an "It's you or him" insurance thing; that's a legal thing. Legally, you, being hit, are responsible for exactly as much as you are responsible for not being hit. He, being the guy who failed to fucking control his moving two-tonne machine in a way that would have allowed him to operate safely in reasonably likely scenarios, is wholly responsible for his improper control of his car.

    You see, the law says you are supposed to be in control of your vehicle. A woman sitting stopped at a green traffic signal texting on her phone IS IN CONTROL OF HER VEHICLE. Her vehicle is stopped. It is, currently, parked illegally and obstructing traffic; but she is in control of it. An idiot ramming into a parked vehicle in the road way just failed to control his moving vehicle and collided with what was not but could have been an ambulance, fire truck, police cruiser, disabled vehicle, pedestrian, slow-moving vehicle (tractor, EPMAD, bicycle), confused deer, construction worker, or whatnot. Only one of these people actually failed to control their vehicle; one was in perfect control of her vehicle, but was being a dick.

    Put simply: My vehicle is under control; you can complain that I have it under control in a manner you don't like and is unlawful, but you can't assign responsibility to me for your vehicle not being under control. You aren't responsible for vehicles that operate in a manner that puts you at unmitigatable risk--a vehicle that suddenly pulls out in front of you forces a faster than reasonable reaction and may leave you with no ability to avoid or brake, and thus is at-fault--but you are legally and ethically responsible for recognizing stationary objects and being fully capable of avoiding or braking.

    It would be like ramming a shopping cart into an old woman standing in the middle of the aisle instead of closer to one shelf so others can pass, and then blaming her because she shouldn't have been there. Why don't YOU watch where you're fucking going with it? She's inconsiderate; you're a danger to those around you, an asshole, and a moron.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @12:16PM (#44937013) Journal

    drug dealers, rapists, murders, burglars, muggers

    One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong. Can you tell which thing is not like the others, by the time I finish my song?

    Did you guess which thing was not like the others?

Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design would be accurate. -- K.E. Iverson