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#3244734 - 01/11/14 10:15 AM Cell phone/driving: an officer's view
dernp Offline


Registered: 10/18/12
Posts: 504
Loc: S/W Ontario, Estero, Fla.
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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#3244741 - 01/11/14 10:21 AM Re: Cell phone/driving: an officer's view [Re: dernp]
spasm3 Offline


Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 6463
Loc: out there
That's not an emergency. Unless the driver was on the way to the hospital or reporting an accident/medical emergency, ticket them.


Edited by spasm3 (01/11/14 10:21 AM)
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#3244744 - 01/11/14 10:22 AM Re: Cell phone/driving: an officer's view [Re: dernp]
loyd Offline


Registered: 08/30/12
Posts: 144
Loc: California
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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#3244749 - 01/11/14 10:25 AM Re: Cell phone/driving: an officer's view [Re: dernp]
FowVay Offline


Registered: 06/02/02
Posts: 2418
Loc: Southeastern USA
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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#3244763 - 01/11/14 10:35 AM Re: Cell phone/driving: an officer's view [Re: dernp]
Rand Offline


Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 10565
Loc: NE,Ohio
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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#3244775 - 01/11/14 10:44 AM Re: Cell phone/driving: an officer's view [Re: dernp]
dparm Offline


Registered: 04/19/10
Posts: 13031
Loc: Chicago, IL
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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#3244788 - 01/11/14 10:54 AM Re: Cell phone/driving: an officer's view [Re: FowVay]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 38403
Loc: New Jersey
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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#3244789 - 01/11/14 10:54 AM Re: Cell phone/driving: an officer's view [Re: FowVay]
hemitom Offline


Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 791
Loc: canada
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.


Edited by hemitom (01/11/14 10:56 AM)
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#3244791 - 01/11/14 10:56 AM Re: Cell phone/driving: an officer's view [Re: dernp]
beanoil Offline


Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 2309
Loc: Midwest, Illinois
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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#3244800 - 01/11/14 11:04 AM Re: Cell phone/driving: an officer's view [Re: FowVay]
xxch4osxx Offline


Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 2162
Loc: Cedarbrae, Ontario
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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#3244806 - 01/11/14 11:05 AM Re: Cell phone/driving: an officer's view [Re: FowVay]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 29588
Loc: ME
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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#3244809 - 01/11/14 11:07 AM Re: Cell phone/driving: an officer's view [Re: dernp]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 29588
Loc: ME
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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#3244811 - 01/11/14 11:09 AM Re: Cell phone/driving: an officer's view [Re: dernp]
old1 Offline


Registered: 01/04/11
Posts: 609
Loc: Columbus Nebraska
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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#3244816 - 01/11/14 11:11 AM Re: Cell phone/driving: an officer's view [Re: loyd]
jeremiah2360 Offline


Registered: 10/06/03
Posts: 223
Loc: Massachusetts
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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#3244818 - 01/11/14 11:14 AM Re: Cell phone/driving: an officer's view [Re: dernp]
Stelth Offline


Registered: 02/24/11
Posts: 1889
Loc: California
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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