Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Georgia Cop Issues 800 Tickets To Drivers Texting At Red Lights

Comments Filter:
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@[ ].com ['mac' in gap]> on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:46AM (#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 Albanach (527650) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:53AM (#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.

      • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:57AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        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, an

        • 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,

          You're told to in England. They even want to put the handbrake on at every stop in a 3 point turn. That was years ago though.

          • by ruir (2709173)
            Only in England? In Portugal we are also taught to brake the car on red lights or whenever if traffic forces us to stop (in here you have to use your judgement).
        • 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.

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        if someone even bumps the back of your car gently, your foot is going to come off the brake

        You sure have some strange reflexes. I've been bumped once, and my foot went on the brake harder.

    • by ancientt (569920) <ancientt@yahoo.com> on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:02AM (#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.

      • by buck-yar (164658) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:14AM (#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.

        • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:32AM (#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.

    • by RivenAleem (1590553) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:31AM (#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.

  • 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 buck-yar (164658) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:25AM (#44933503)

      Police are almost always exempt from most traffic laws. If they do break traffic laws, its usually intra-department disciplinary action. Though one cop was driving 135 on the interstate, for no official reason (he stated he wanted to test drive the car to its limits). He got fired for that. Little did he know one of the guys he blew by doing 135 was the police commissioner.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:47AM (#44933063)

    Which is why I always put my car in [P]ark while stopped at traffic lights.

    (I live in Cobb County, 2 counties over from Gwinnett and have received a ticket for "texting while driving")

    You're not legally driving if your car is in park.

    And I beat the ticket by forcing the cop to produce the dashcam footage. You could clearly see my reverse lights light up as the car was shifted from Park to Drive.

    In fact, having a car in Park is one of the few exceptions written into the law.

  • by pecosdave (536896) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:48AM (#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.

    • by plover (150551) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:18AM (#44933415) Homepage Journal

      What, so now the cop has to see which app on your tiny screen you were using when he saw you? If it's colored a certain way, it's OK, but if it's colored differently it's not OK? And if I am pulled over texting-while-driving, do I just need a double-click-the-button app to pop up the maps quick so I can tell the cop I was just using a map? I don't disagree with the cop tagging someone for using the map app in that way, because it would be impossible to enforce it any other way.

      However, I think a lot of driving laws are stupid "pre-crime" kinds of laws that should be revisited. Speeding, drunk driving, texting, etc., none of those actions actually causes harm. They only increase risks, such as the risk of increased injury in an accident due to higher speeds, or the risk of actually getting into an accident because you're distracted or intoxicated. But the only thing that actually causes harm is an actual accident. If you cause an accident that causes minor injury to another, you should get about five years in jail. If your accident seriously injures another person, you should get 10 years. If your accident takes another person's life, you go to jail for life. If those were the laws, and they were enforced, people might actually think before they try something stupid. That way each person would be responsible for their own actions at all times. If you're on an isolated country road, with no cars visible for miles in any direction, why not drive 120 MPH? If you're in a tight city street, with the potential for pedestrians to pop out in front of you from between parked vehicles, you're risking jail if you don't essentially crawl slowly through the neighborhood. You limit your own behavior because you're responsible for the consequences of your actions.

      Of course, that would require people to think and to take responsibility for themselves, two things that most people suck at.

  • Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @08:50AM (#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:Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KillaBeave (1037250) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:00AM (#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 jmv (93421)

      Except that the message this sends is "you're less likely to get a ticket if you wait for the green light before you start texting". Sure it may be against the law, but the problem I have with this sort of thing is that the focus is always on the least dangerous behaviour. Just like in my neighbourhood where the cops will stop people speeding on the big street where it's least dangerous while ignoring speeding in the residential area where you can have children crossing at any time. Enforcing the law where

    • by scotts13 (1371443)

      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.

      I expected to read a lot of positive comments; I'm surprised how many people are criticizing this officer. I live in Pennsylvania, where (according to a previous poster) it's legal to text while stopped. I'd like to see that changed; I'm constantly infuriated by the time it takes for drivers to realize the light has changed, finish their text, and get moving. Many traffic lights are sensor operated; when there are no cars moving, it truncates the green. As a consequence, ONLY the car that delayed everyone g

  • 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 Walter White (1573805) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:01AM (#44933219)

    Bravo!

    Texting at red lights too often turns into texting at green lights. I really hate sitting through a light cycle because the idiot in front of me hadn't noticed that the light had changed.

  • 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?
  • by MacTO (1161105) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:17AM (#44933393)

    ... you shouldn't be in control of a piece of heavy machinery (in this case an automobile).

    Before red-light gadget users argue that they are in control of their habits, ask yourself why you're texting at a red light. It only takes a couple of minutes to remove yourself from the flow of traffic, do the texting, and safely reinsert yourself into the flow of traffic.

  • by Ronin Developer (67677) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:32AM (#44933651)

    Actually, its much easier and safer for the cop to nail someone at a traffic light than to pull a suspected driver over and approach the vehicle not knowing what's actually going on inside. The texter is usually unaware the cop is there until it's too late. By then, the cop can determine if they are threat and have them dead to rights. Smart policing if you ask me.

    Now, the rule on using a phone as a GPS and writing tickets for that? In NJ, it is illegal to operate ANY hand-held electronics while driving...that includes hands free phone use unless the phone is physically mounted in the vehicle. Somebody pointed out that apps like the new Google Maps or Waze are often superior to the in-car alternatives...offer turn by turn directions...and don't require the driver to fumble with it while driving.

    Why are these laws in place? Ask the governor whose driver (a trooper) had an accident while operating a mobile device while driving.

  • by Another, completely (812244) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @09:54AM (#44934183)

    You're on a roadway, behind (the wheel of) a car, in charge of it, with a vehicle in drive

    I'm typically in neutral at a red light, so does that make it OK? Does the gear matter, or is it because you are in the lane rather than on the shoulder? If a stationary car gets into an accident, isn't that always the other driver's fault anyhow?

  • by Sir_Eptishous (873977) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @10:08AM (#44934483) Homepage
    Good lord this is the best news I've heard in a while. As someone who walks/bikes and rides public transportation quit a bit I'm a constant target of duechebag "drivers" texting away. It doesn't matter if you're stopped or not(except if the engine isn't running...) If you're texting while you're driving its wrong, and no sugar coated bullshit excuse can relinquish you of your responsibility while driving a motor vehicle.

In 1869 the waffle iron was invented for people who had wrinkled waffles.

Working...