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Communications Transportation

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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  • jerk (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @07:45AM (#44933045) Homepage

    What an ass hat. Bunch of people harming no one stopped at a light and he screws up their day.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @07:46AM (#44933051) Journal

    Citing them for texting, sure. Citing for using the GPS is fucking stupid. We do NOT want to revert to the days when people tried to manage folding and unfolding maps as they drove.

    -jcr

  • by pecosdave (536896) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @07:48AM (#44933071) Homepage Journal

    I'm not going to get into the rest of it, I'm a cyclist and it amazes me how many people I notice have a phone to their ear while driving, especially in the daytime. Those are bad drivers. Texters are worse, so yeah, do it, but it's more sporting to get them in motion instead of at a stoplight, less they can argue against as well. Getting them at stoplights almost seems lazy.

    Leave the map app guys alone. If it's displaying a map I don't care if it's dedicated or not, it's displaying a map, infact the phone could be the safer device, it's maps are updated constantly and they're more likely to have correct directions based on that tidbit, at least in cities like I live in where the map is constatly changing.

  • Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @07:50AM (#44933079) Homepage Journal

    A cop doing their job.

    There is nothing short of an absolute, death-like issue that you need to be texting at a red light, or anywhere else while driving. Time and time again I've been behind people who were texting, the light turn greens and invariably I, or someone else, has to put on the horn to get them to pay attention to what they're doing as they're holding up traffic.

    If you're that narcissistic or ADD that you think you need to be checking every ten seconds, go seek help.

    Kudos to the cop enforcing the law.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @07:52AM (#44933101)

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

  • by Albanach (527650) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @07:53AM (#44933113) Homepage

    Actually, in the US where almost everyone is driving an automatic, this is dangerous. If the foot slips off the brake for any reason, the car will propel itself forward while the driver likely has no hands on the steering wheel, and is distracted by their phone. You might think that scenario unlikely, but if someone even bumps the back of your car gently, your foot is going to come off the brake and you are now going into the car in front of you - one that might be driving through the intersection at speed.

    In some other countries where most have manual transmissions, drivers are trained to place the car into neutral and engage the handbrake at a red light. That at least makes this a somewhat safer practice.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlacKSacrificE (1089327) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @07:56AM (#44933145)
    The amount of times I have missed a red light because the dickwad ahead is fucking with their phones and failed to roll on is phenomenal. By the time said dickwad has reacted to my horn, put the phone down, and moved on, the light is often changing. Don't be that dickwad.
  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @07:57AM (#44933163)

    If your foot is on the brake so poorly that it's going to get dislodged, having your hands on the wheel isn't going to do you much good. It's not dangerous to text at red lights. Annoying to drivers behind you yes, dangerous, no.

  • Re:jerk (Score:2, Insightful)

    by green is the enemy (3021751) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:00AM (#44933203)
    What I don't like about cops is that they prefer to enforce laws that are easy to enforce. They happily issue lots of traffic tickets, while drug dealers, rapists, murderers, burglars, muggers, etc. are not getting caught.
  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:00AM (#44933205) Homepage

    I've seen people fail to start driving when the light turns green because they were texting. I've seen people almost not stop for a light because they were looking at their screen. I've seen the driver behind me with both thumbs typing away on his device and therefore no hands on the wheel. I routinely see people driving along looking at their lap instead of where they're driving as they try to do a quick text.

    So, I have no sympathy for people who are convinced they're so awesome at multi-tasking that they're trying to text and drive and end up getting a ticket.

    I could walk 5 minutes from my house to an intersection, and if I stood in one place and simply photographed all of the drivers texting or talking on their phone (in their hand and gesturing with the other one), that I bet 30% or more of drivers are doing it.

    If the stats tell us that distracted driving is causing a huge number of traffic accidents, then if the cop has decided to enforce the law on all of these people, too bad for them.

    From what I've seen, those who can't resist a quick text at the stop light are also doing it while they're driving. It's often astounding to me just how many drivers are paying more attention to their phone than the cars around them.

  • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KillaBeave (1037250) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:00AM (#44933215)

    A cop doing their job.

    ...

    This strikes me just like the cops back in college that would pull over TAXIS leaving bars in order to ticket the kids leaving the bar with public intoxication. Technically doing their job. Definitely adding incentive to the wrong behavior. It was "safer" to leave certain bars in your own car rather than in a cab ... I kid you not. This type of enforcement is making it "safer" for the texters to do it while driving ... harder for this asshat to catch them.

    The incentive is certainly going to encourage the greater of the two evils ... and it could get someone hurt/killed. All the while this clown get's his name in the paper though for writing a bunch of tickets to non-violent scofflaws ... adding incentive to stopping minor offenders rather than actual criminals.

  • by ancientt (569920) <ancientt@yahoo.com> on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:02AM (#44933241) Homepage Journal

    No, enforcing the law is not stupid, having a stupid law is stupid.

    Seriously folks, this is exactly why we have such terrible government at every level. Voters blame the officer who is actually doing his job to follow the law rather than the morons who write and pass bad laws.

  • Re:jerk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dr. Sheldon Cooper (2726841) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:03AM (#44933255)
    There are many laws for which police officers use their own discretion in regards to enforcement of said laws. This is possibly a situation where the spirit of the law and the letter of the law are not in sync.

    IANAL, YMMV, etc.
  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:05AM (#44933279) Journal
    Hes doing his job, whether you like it or not. Dont blame the police for laws you dont like.

    Police have a huge amount of discretion in who they write up and for what. He could actually, y'know, work, and catch people posing some threat to those around him; but instead, he'd rather sit at a stop light and give tickets to fish in a barrel - To people at least trying to do the right thing and not text while driving (even if still technically "operating" their car).

    So yeah, that still makes him a complete asshole. To all the good cops out there - This guy explains why we loathe you all so much. When you hear about shit like this, a good blanket party would do a world of wonders for your overall PR.
  • Re:jerk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:09AM (#44933317)

    What I don't like about cops is that they prefer to enforce laws that are easy to enforce. They happily issue lots of traffic tickets, while drug dealers, rapists, murderers, burglars, muggers, etc. are not getting caught.

    Where I live these are completely different cops. So no matter how active the traffic cops are, it doesn't make any difference to how police work other crimes.

  • by buck-yar (164658) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:14AM (#44933369)

    The reason they blame the officer is there's a metric tonne of laws that aren't regularly enforced against the general public that if they were, people would be irate. Its called officer discretion, and the average person receives it every time they don't do a 1 second stop at a stop sign, drive 67 in a 65 etc. People think they're benevolent and the strict enforcement of the law should only apply to DUI, druggies and drug dealers etc, and they should only be given a warning for whatever laws they break.

    This is part of the toolset of the LEO. Politicians and traffic engineers purposefully make the law difficult to not break (IE low speed limits) and gives the officer the ability to pretty much pull anyone over at any time. They don't because they're only after bad guys like drug dealers, so soccer moms get warnings or officer discretion all day long. Then you get instances like in the OP where the law is equally applied, and people throw hissy fits about how its BS.

    We live in a very strict set of laws, and the reason 95% of us aren't pulled over every trip to work is officer discretion.

  • Re:jerk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:14AM (#44933373) Homepage

    Just following orders? Where have I heard that before?

    If he sees someone texting while actually driving (sitting there forever and a day with your foot on the brake wondering if the light is broken is not driving), I'm all for him issuing a ticket.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thaylin (555395) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:14AM (#44933377)
    So a "good" cop in your mind is one who selectively enforces the law, and not one who enforces it equally?
  • Re:Finally! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:14AM (#44933379)

    It's not the 2 seconds that are important it's the fact that the texter is now in a rush to get through the intersection since he/she missed the initial signal, doesn't know if it's about to turn yellow again, and has people honking behind him/her. The texter won't be fully paying attention to their surroundings and will charge into the intersection without checking to see if it's safe like they'd normally do. That greatly increases the risk of hitting someone. Maybe a person on the other side on the intersection started turning, maybe someone is crossing the street. The rushing texter won't notice.

    WTF is so important that you need to check your text messages at a stop light?

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mitchell314 (1576581) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:15AM (#44933383)
    So all the other police aren't doing their jobs? I can understand whacking those who're texting/calling while driving; in fact I'm all for it. Red lights are iffy, ex: sometimes folks need a simple answer to pick something up along the way. But ticketing for using a phone's GPS/navigation? Dick move. Serious, serious dick move, and one that does not improve safety. In fact, it's probably safer and less distracting for my phone to vocalize directions than for me to have to look at paper maps. Even a phone's GPS map auto-tracks the vehicle and outlines the desired route, so there's less concentration needed to track where you are than on a legit paper map.
  • Re:jerk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:16AM (#44933385) Homepage

    Imagine how much more real crime they could stop by re-assigning traffic patrol to more useful departments.

  • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:17AM (#44933399)

    In some other countries where most have manual transmissions, drivers are trained to place the car into neutral and engage the handbrake at a red light. That at least makes this a somewhat safer practice.

    You're nuts. I've been driving a manual transmission for my entire life and was *never* told to put the hand brake on at a red light. In fact, I was specifically told not to, because it takes time to disengage and can impede traffic if you have it on when the signal turns to green. As for putting it in neutral, usually not. I leave it in 1st, with my foot on the clutch. That's a safer stall than leaving the car not in gear at all: if my foot slips from the clutch, the car will lurch and stall completely, and the engine will keep it from moving further until I turn it back on. My other foot is on the brake at intersections, btw.

    And I still think it's stupid to be programming a GPS at a traffic stop. Find a safe spot to pull over and program it there. Or better yet, program the bloody thing before you leave. Cell phone GPS get their maps from Google (or whoever), and are able to recalculate your route on the fly. The current version of Google Navigate even pulls in the current traffic conditions if you're in an area where it's supported, and will recalculate your route to avoid traffic jams.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:18AM (#44933413) Homepage

    Considering how many people are killed in traffic accidents compared to say, murderers, then he is doing it right.

    If he were a computer scientist, we would say he is going for Big O(n) improvements and pat him on the back.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FatAlb3rt (533682) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:21AM (#44933447) Homepage
    The proper recourse is for people to pay attention. That typically means don't text and drive.
  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sFurbo (1361249) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:21AM (#44933451)
    But how many are killed because people are texting while their vehicle is stationary?
  • by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:23AM (#44933475)

    It's possible to get cited for drunk driving even if the car is turned off in a parking lot. It's more about being the person in control of the vehicle than it is about "driving"

  • Re:jerk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by njnnja (2833511) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:23AM (#44933491)

    And imagine how much more software we could release if they re-assigned marketing staff to software development!

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Salgak1 (20136) <salgak@NOspam.speakeasy.net> on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:25AM (#44933505) Homepage
    Given the fact that we all are, technically, committing scores of crimes based on technical defintions of law and regulation, I would say that judgement is a key factor for a street-level cop. . .
  • by cheekyboy (598084) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:29AM (#44933599) Homepage Journal

    but cops can use their police computers to look up licence plates at a red light, or the can be on their police radio while driving at high speed.

    Ah yeah, one rule for the cops, one rule for the plebs.

    Can I read my paperback novel at the red light? Yep legal, can I drink my coffee and read the ingredients at the lights? yep.

    Can I close my eyes and snooze for 30 seconds at the lights?

    Stop nanny states making 5000000 rules about our lives, GET LOST govt. Enough rules is enough ok.

  • Re:jerk (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:31AM (#44933627)

    But then how would they drive up the ticket money to pay for unneeded "new cars" and bribe money for their pockets?

    Come on now. If you see a traffic cop, he's not there to "protect and serve." They are the Badged Highwaymen, state-sanctioned assholes whose job it is to flip the lights on behind random people in the universal cop-sign for "stick em up and hand over your wallet, brownie."

  • by RivenAleem (1590553) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:31AM (#44933641)

    I disagree, I nearly caused my very own accident because I was trying to confirm my location using Google maps on my phone. I've since wise'd up and learned that I should either pull over and check it, or leave it very well alone. Nowadays, I turn on voice to it gives me the directions and then turn off the screen. I'm only driving 1 & 1/2 years and though I've passed my test, I'm still learning.

    You should have nothing going on IN your car that takes your mind off what's happening OUT of your car.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:32AM (#44933659)

    The reason they blame the officer is there's a metric tonne of laws that aren't regularly enforced against the general public

    So hold those drafting the metric tonne of laws responsible instead. You may be one of the few Americans that bother to vote so this isn't aimed at you, but to all those others I suggest getting off your arse, vote, and follow through by bothering those you voted for on issues that are pissing you off.

    We live in a very strict set of laws

    That's a very third world authoritarian way to have things and should be punished at the ballot box. In many places such a harsh environment is there so that there is always a reason to pay bribes to those that enforce or draft the laws.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Le Marteau (206396) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:33AM (#44933669) Journal

    It is not the job of police to enforce EVERY law. The concept is called "selective enforcement" and result in things like cops issuing warnings, issuing a verbal scolding, or choosing not to cite at all for some things.

    One question is often asked at interviews for police work is, "You catch your mother speeding. Do you give her a ticket?"

    The proper answer is, "no". Departments don't want people who would give their own mother a speeding ticket. Contrary to popular belief, departments want thinking human beings, not robocops.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:34AM (#44933701) Homepage

    They all get the same training. So if you have qualified developers doing sales, then yes you might want to re-assign a few if the sales team is doing busy work while the developers are in crunch time.

  • Re:jerk (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:34AM (#44933709)

    I'd be willing to bet that 90%+ of these texters while stationary also do it while moving.

  • Re:jerk (Score:4, Insightful)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:36AM (#44933765) Journal
    if it makes you feel better, rapists, drug dealers, murderers, etc are getting tickets for texting at red lights.

    While it sucks to get busted, he's doing everyone a favor by strictly enforcing a terrible law. Everyday, you, I, and everyone violates laws. Not because we have a guilty mind or because we're bad people or doing anything wrong but because laws and regulations have grown to the point that it's not possible to live a strictly legal life. But if they're only selectively enforced, why should we care?

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:37AM (#44933789) Homepage

    catch people posing some threat to those around him

    How about the people who aren't watching the intersection they're sitting at, so when the light turns green they instinctively hit the gas, rather than looking at the slow-moving pedestrians?

  • Re:jerk (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:39AM (#44933827) Homepage

    It's not his job to set up at a traffic light explicitly looking for harmless technical violations. He has discretion where he sets up and which traffic violations he focuses on. He's abusing that discretion. That makes him an ass hat.

    Makes his chief an ass hat too, for not telling him to go look for actual dangerous behavior.

  • Re:jerk (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:41AM (#44933871)

    But then how would they drive up the ticket money to pay for unneeded "new cars" and bribe money for their pockets?

    Come on now. If you see a traffic cop, he's not there to "protect and serve." They are the Badged Highwaymen, state-sanctioned assholes whose job it is to flip the lights on behind random people in the universal cop-sign for "stick em up and hand over your wallet, brownie."

    About 10 times as many die from motor vehicle accidents each year in the US as died in the 911 attack. This doesn't warrant some traffic cop activity?

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by myth24601 (893486) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:43AM (#44933927)

    Not insightful.

    Apples and oranges. A better analogy would be juggling different software developers between projects to set priorities but that doesn't give us a gratuitous dig at marketing people.

  • Re:jerk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SleazyRidr (1563649) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:43AM (#44933929)

    And they're always so smug about it. "Well you're technicallly breaking the law so fuck you."

    Like the asshats who ticket you for drunk driving when you're sleeping in your car. Lesson learned: you're harder to catch if you're a moving target, save the texts for the highway, and drive home to sleep in your own bed.

  • Re:jerk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:45AM (#44933967) Homepage

    Parked on the side of a street I can sort of understand, but parked in their own (presumably private) driveway?

    That isn't a public road, so how do the DUI laws apply? As far as I know, you don't even need to have a driver's license, insurance, or vehicle registration if the car isn't operated on public roads. You should be able to drive as drunk as you want to if the vehicle stays on your own property...

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by myth24601 (893486) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:45AM (#44933973)

    While the guy was a jerk for not paying attention while at a light, when a stationary car at a stop light gets hit, some of that blame must go to the person who rear ended him.

  • Re:jerk (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BlacKSacrificE (1089327) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:49AM (#44934073)
    I'm pretty sure the reason we have horns is to alert wayward pedestrians that they are about to get a hood ornament up their arse, or to notify other drivers that they are about to run over the front of our cars because they didn't check their mirrors before changing lane.

    That is to say, emergencies.

    If I hear a horn in traffic I automatically go to DEFCON 3 and eagerly watch my mirrors for the shit to hit the fan (or my rear bumper). However needing to reminding someone that they are (allegedly) in control of a tonne of steel is not an emergency, its just a display of selfishness and lack of self control. Just put the damn phone down. How hard is it?
  • Re:jerk (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Godwin O'Hitler (205945) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:59AM (#44934277) Homepage Journal

    Doesn't matter whose fault it was. The texter disrupted traffic for no good cause and someone died.

  • Re:jerk (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:07AM (#44934437) Homepage

    If they're down to busywork like writing tickets on technicalities that are obviously endangering nobody, they're already well past the point where they should be re-assigning.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:08AM (#44934467) Journal

    No, he's not doing his job.

    The job of a police officer is to ensure the smooth and peaceful running of society. Police officers are supposed to use their better judgment to decide if they need to intervene in an unsafe situation. They're not supposed to be walking porcine bureaucrats looking to randomly drain and damage society by mindlessly misapplying draconian rules into incidental situations.

    Texting while driving laws were put into place because of the extreme danger of distracted driving. That danger isn't present when parked at a light--you might annoy someone by not moving when the light changes, and you'll obstruct traffic in a non-dangerous manner. We have accepted the danger of people referencing, but not programming, their GPS while driving; we certainly haven't targetted GPS use while parked at a light. Ticketing people for these things is inappropriate, regardless of what the law actually says. The law was put in place specifically to address certain societal problems; these actions do not intersect with those problems, and so the officer should apply his legal discretion rather than acting like a predatory dickhead.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:08AM (#44934469)

    Yes actually.

    I know, I know, it's fantasy, but yes, a cop that has the competence to act like something other than an autonomous robot and recognise when the law is unjust and counterproductive to enforce and so doesn't enforce it is exactly the type of cop I would love to have.

    No I don't support bent cops who enforce it selectively to their or their friends benefit, but I don't think asking cops to apply a bit of common sense in law enforcement is really too much to ask.

    In fact, I do have a friend who is a police officer and she does draw a distinction between pulling a commuter for going 35 in a 30 zone at 6 am in the morning on a road that is open, with good visibility and there is no one around and pulling a jack ass going 50 down the same road when it's busy, parked cars make it harder to see and there are kids walking home from school. She understands that the latter is actually a danger, but the former simply isn't and that pulling the former does nothing other than ruin someone's day, and make them hate the cops for such unnecessary enforcement.

    The world isn't ever black and white and the idea that the law should only be enforced in a black and white manner simply means it has less respect from citizens because it doesn't reflect the real world. Some (all?) countries even allow cops explicitly to exercise a bit of common sense so it's not like the binary mindset on Slashdot that the law can only ever be applied black and white if an officer is doing what they should anyway is even correct. For example, police have the leeway to opt to not pursue prosecution in the UK for speeding if you can prove for example that your life was under threat.

    Ultimately the best police officers are the ones that recognise what the law is intended to achieve - in this case, road safety, and that if enforcing the letter of the law doesn't achieve that, then it's pointless and possibly even counter-productive to enforce.

    So yes, the cop in TFA is a jackass, incompetent, and emblematic of the inevitable race to the bottom of judging cops on how many convictions they get rather than how well they're doing in improving public safety which is the fundamental point of a police force.

    Besides, one might argue in just focussing on people texting this cop is being selective in enforcement of laws anyway, because he's choosing to spend all his time enforcing texting laws and none of his time enforcing other laws letting breaches of them go unhandled. Really, this guy is just trying to make himself look like he has an awesome perp catch rate and nothing more, he's a lazy waste of tax payer's money, taking the easy route to try and make himself look like a relevant member of law enforcement by the figures.

  • Re:jerk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:09AM (#44934489)

    > I'd be willing to bet that 90%+ of these texters while stationary also do it while moving.

    Yeah, let's just start by assuming one guilt indicates another. That isn't slippery at all....

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by duiwel (1758406) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:13AM (#44934575) Homepage
    I'd bet that 90%+ of your statistic is 99.9% made up! You should probably work on being less jaded. I'd say a large majority of people are reasonable enough to only text at a red light and stay off their phones while driving. From my own car or from the sidewalk I still catch far more people talking with the phone up to their ear than I do catch people texting. Not being able to touch your Navigation for a couple seconds if its mounted to your windshield because its a 'phone' and not a separate $100+ device (that requires yearly subscriptions) is absolutely ridiculous, though.
  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by notanalien_justgreen (2596219) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:15AM (#44934621)

    Technically a 100% of the blame goes to the guy behind who did the rear-ending. I'd feel free to yell at the stationary driver, but it's not legal to just ram someone who doesn't accelerate fast enough for your liking.

  • by itsdapead (734413) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:16AM (#44934647)

    And that is the stationary car's fault?

    Despite what lawyers and insurance companies would like you to think, blame doesn't follow some sort of conservation principle. There's more than enough for everybody to have some.

    If the first car hadn't been stationary at a green light, the accident wouldn't have happened. The first driver created a dangerous situation. If people make a habit of this there will be more accidents - so deterring people from doing it is a good idea. Stating that doesn't stop the second driver being responsible for not looking where they were going.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Imagix (695350) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:18AM (#44934687)
    Easy way to stop that problem. Don't do all of the "easy to enforce" things. Then they have nothing left but the drug dealers, rapists, murders, burglars, muggers, etc to catch.
  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crakbone (860662) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:18AM (#44934695)
    No, it warrants better driver training. Right now we have air craft pilots train on simulators. We also have fire departments, police departments, military, oil rig crews, crane operators, semi truck drivers, network engineers, astronauts, first aid training, TSA personnel, Nuclear power plant personnel, train personnel, and a myriad of other jobs that all require a simulator for training. But for a standard drivers license you need to show you can drive around the block and memorize a test. We need to show that a person can handle an emergency while driving, not what its like on a sunny day at 35 miles an hour. We have had the technology for a low cost simulator at each dmv for a long time. States need to have them. Prove that a person can handle the most common accident situations safely and you will see the rates go down. Right now they are just not trained to see it happening and what to do when it happens.
  • by zerofoo (262795) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:18AM (#44934697)

    There is no activity in a free society that is without risk. We could increase the size of our highway patrols 10 fold and we would not eliminate deaths on our roads.

    The question is always one of acceptable risk vs costs. The opportunity cost of reducing highway fatalities by increasing police presence is a reduced presence in high-crime areas.

    With a 1 in 100 chance that you will be injured in a car accident, driving is a risky activity. I argue that we as a society don't care that much about the risk - especially not enough to fund a massive increase in our police forces. Smoking kills far more people than car accidents, but I don't see much of a public push to rid the world of that habit. Why is that?

    Simply, it is because we value our freedom over absolute security and we sure as hell do not want to pay for more police than is necessary to hold down violent crime.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pr0t0 (216378) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:29AM (#44934901)

    I'd be willing to bet that people with sports cars often drive faster than the speed limit. We should just issue them speeding tickets when they are stopped at red lights to save some time and trouble.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alexo (9335) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:35AM (#44935023) Journal

    About 10 times as many die from motor vehicle accidents each year in the US as died in the 911 attack. This doesn't warrant some traffic cop activity?

    No.

    It doesn't warrant "some traffic cop activity", it may warrant specific activity that was proven effective in reducing motor vehicle accidents (as opposed to just extracting money from citizens).
    However, it definitely warrants investing in better infrastructure.

    Do not repeat the classic politician fallacy:
    1. Something must be done
    2. X is something
    3. Therefore, X must be done.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cbiltcliffe (186293) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:52AM (#44935375) Homepage Journal

    About 10 times as many die from motor vehicle accidents each year in the US as died in the 911 attack. This doesn't warrant some traffic cop activity?

    No, it doesn't warrant it. It warrants changing your driver's licencing requirements and increasing the difficulty of the tests, so people who shouldn't be put in charge of a golf cart are incapable of passing.

    Society sees traffic accidents as a problem of enforcement. It's not. We've been enforcing traffic laws for decades, and accident rates haven't significantly changed. The problem is, we've been handing out driver's licences like crackerjack toys for decades, so we've got complete and total morons behind the wheels of cars.

    Take a look at some of the car accident videos on YouTube. Some of them, you wonder how they manage to put their pants on in the morning, because they're so stupid. Yet, the vast majority of these people (allowing for a few who just drive without licences) have passed a driver's test, and obtained a driver's licence.

    There's your problem, right there.

  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crakbone (860662) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @10:21AM (#44935913)
    Yes, you will always have criminals, but right now you can't tell the criminal from the untrained. Show in a simulator to a teen driver what its like to look at your phone and all of a sudden a deer is in your path and you have done far more than a ticket at a stop light because your lottery ticket came up that day.
  • Re:jerk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ranton (36917) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @10:58AM (#44936663)

    Technically a 100% of the blame goes to the guy behind who did the rear-ending

    Why did you even use the word 'technically'? 100% of the blame rightly goes to the one doing the rear ending. If my car died while waiting at a red light someone doesn't have the right to kill me.

    Even if you are doing something illegal, that doesn't shift blame for the actual accident. If I am listening to a pirated song on my MP3 player when someone rear ends me I don't share in blame for that either.

  • Re:jerk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @11:26AM (#44937237) Journal

    "Rights" are just a masturbatory fantasy some people have where they think certain "laws" are something else. You see, when we write a law, we sometimes write down things that sound fancy--like that people are endowed by some higher being with certain "rights". Or like that it is good and proper to help the poor, hence why you must pay extra taxes to shelter homeless drifters. Or like how killing babies is wrong, so birth control and condoms must be illegal because God says every sperm is sacred. That sort of thing.

    In Islamic nations, immodesty is also not so much a "law" as a "moral corruption," and the law isn't really a thing that's written by people so much as it's very much a thing just like "rights" we have. That's why it's okay to behead women who wear miniskirts.

    The only thing that ensures "rights" are that these laws are written in a medium that's incredibly difficult to change *and* that the government will face consequences for acting contrary to those laws. Constitutional law provides a framework by which certain laws cannot be amended without amending Constitutional law *or* by showing that certain parts of constitutional law conflict and that certain selective interpretation is necessary to best achieve the goals of constitutional law.

    Not long ago, Latin and Ancient Greek (not Modern Greek) were taught in public school. Today we say that laws are impossible for the common man to interpret, and that we need lawyers. Is it not fathomable that criteria to be a lawyer would include adequate fluency in Ancient Greek and Latin to interpret laws by existing knowledge or by obtaining a dictionary and expanding your knowledge on the spot? Basic fluency in Latin would allow you to go, "What is that word?" and then expand your knowledge by opening a book and reading it. I'm not talking about "Conversational Latin" here; I'm talking about the ability to read poetry and books and old legal documents, pages and paragraphs. Basic fluency in Japanese is the ability to read a Japanese newspaper with its 2000-ish kanji, hiragana, and katakana, and functionally understand it; you will encounter other words in Japanese you don't know, but you can quickly look those up and your fluency grows. Same deal with Latin and Greek.

    Time to go.

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