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Fines Fail To Curb Cell Phone Usage While Driving

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the try-bullets-next-time dept.

Cellphones 339

andylim writes "An in-depth study of over 14,000 London drivers by the Transport Research Laboratory has found an increase in the number of London motorists making and taking calls using their handsets at the wheel between 2008 and 2009, even though harsher penalties were introduced in 2007. It seems that most people, at least in London, still don't respect the fact that there's a much higher risk of being involved in an accident if you're using your cell phone."

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It's not the fines.... (5, Informative)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415758)

It's the enforcement. We have really, really high fines here for all sorts of traffic violations, but enforcement is so lacking that it almost seems random. Your chances of getting caught are miniscule, so people learn to ignore the law. If they do get caught, the fines are staggering - but the one in ten thousand chance of getting caught is not a deterrent.

Re:It's not the fines.... (5, Interesting)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415842)

It's the enforcement. We have really, really high fines here for all sorts of traffic violations, but enforcement is so lacking that it almost seems random. Your chances of getting caught are miniscule, so people learn to ignore the law. If they do get caught, the fines are staggering - but the one in ten thousand chance of getting caught is not a deterrent.

Actually it's not the fines or enforcement. It's training. Every police vehicle I've seen has a laptop mounted on the center console. Every time I see a cop driving around they have one hand on the keyboard and constantly glance back and forth between the road and the computer.

Cell phones and cars aren't going away anytime soon. Instead of punishing the citizens for doing something police are trained to do, train the citizens too. There is no reason that drivers ed. classes shouldn't discuss this and deal with it.

I think the best way to "think of the children" is to teach the children. If you don't want little Lisa to text and drive into a horrible wreck, teach her how to text and drive responsibly. Otherwise take your blanket statements and have every computer removed from police vehicles because otherwise we have an effective working double standard which provides revenue to the police force. Fuck that shit.

Re:It's not the fines.... (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415882)

I think the best way to "think of the children" is to teach the children.

The problem is, everybody has their own ideas about what to teach the children, and the vast majority of those ideas will turn little Lisa into an imbecile, a sociopath, or a robot.

On the other hand, at least the robot can be programmed to drive safely.

Re:It's not the fines.... (5, Interesting)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415930)

One more thing... In the USA (I live in Minnesota), we have classes of drivers licenses. Lowest class being I think a D (my D license allows me to drive standard cars and trucks up to a certain size). There is a separate class for motorcycles, and tractor-trailers (semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, etc). This "problem" can easily be handled through education, hands-on training, and licensing.

Now I'm on a roll... We have these special license plates for vehicles whose owners like to drink alcohol and drive drunk. In my state we call them "whiskey plates" because the license number always starts with a W. These special license plates are a signifier for law enforcement that the person driving has been convicted multiple times of driving while intoxicated, and as such, may now be pulled over and checked at any time to verify they are not repeating the offense. I may be off on the rules, but that is the gist of it.

So, maybe we can create another class of license plates as well as license. You text and cause accidents or speed too much, and you have to go to court and tell a judge. Then your car gets "texty plates" and everyone around now knows you like to text and drive and cause problems, and the cops can pull you over and check your cellphone to ensure you haven't been repeating the offense.

I dunno. These ideas seem more American to me than making government bigger, and interfering with previously held freedoms.

Re:It's not the fines.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416006)

How is flushing the 4th amendment down the toilet not "interfering with previously held freedoms"? Why do all my fellow countrymen want to turn this country in to a totalitarian police state hell hole? WTF is going on in this country??

Re:It's not the fines.... (1)

valkraider (611225) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416092)

How is any of that flushing your 4th amendment rights down the toilet? Show me anywhere the 4th amendment give you the right to drive. Show me anywhere the 4th amendment says that the government cannot restrict what/how/where/when we drive?

Driving is not a right.

The only reason people think so is because we have built our country, our cities, and our system in such a way that makes it very inconvenient to not drive. But if you don't like the licensing requirements, or you don't like the license plates, or you don't like insurance requirements or whatever - you are always completely free to not drive....

Because you see, your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. And a car is a 4000lb fist, and I don't want to be hit with it.

Re:It's not the fines.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416130)

Yeah, I can't believe some people think driving is a right. I'm mostly blind, and the idea that it was ever unfair for the government to prohibit me from driving never even entered into my mind. I'm an unsafe driver. People who drink and drive are unsafe drivers. People who text or talk and drive are unsafe drivers.

Re:It's not the fines.... (2, Informative)

haruharaharu (443975) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416364)

Driving is not a right.

It's open to anyone who can demonstrate ability and only revocable if you show yourself to be a danger to others. Sounds like a right to me.

It's not the fines.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416574)

Driving is not a right.

It's open to anyone who can demonstrate ability and only revocable if you show yourself to be a danger to others. Sounds like a right to me.

That makes it a privilege. Rights are inalienable, to use an American term, while privileges are revocable for cause.

Re:It's not the fines.... (2, Insightful)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416168)

How is flushing the 4th amendment down the toilet not "interfering with previously held freedoms"? Why do all my fellow countrymen want to turn this country in to a totalitarian police state hell hole? WTF is going on in this country??

Exactly how is this flushing the 4th down the toilet? How else do you punish adults other than restrict their rights or outright revoke them? I am a proponent of the concept that if you fuck up badly enough as an adult you need to have a severe punishment.

Allowing the police to stop you and verify you're not drunk is a compromise yes, but an acceptable one for society as a whole. Otherwise society as a whole would vote to change it. I happen to agree with this, as it is democratic (even if it is a uncomfortable compromise).

All you have to do to avoid being tagged with "whiskey plates" is not repeatedly drive drunk and endanger the lives of your fellow Americans. Fuck you if you disagree with that.

Re:It's not the fines.... (2, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416350)

Convicted multiple times of driving while intoxicated?!

Here in the UK you'd be very lucky to still have a driving licence after that. I believe the typical punishment for being caught once is a year's ban.

Re:It's not the fines.... (5, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416048)

I don't believe that the vast majority of people can be taught to do this safely and responsibly. What I see every day is that at least half the people on the roads are just barely competent to be driving, and you add a cellphone to the equation and they become downright dangerous to themselves and everyone around them. Police are specifically trained for the skills they must have to do their jobs, but in addition to that they are held to much more rigorous standards before they're even accepted for that training. If the average person was held to the standards potential police or highway patrol are held to, there would be many fewer people on the roads to begin with.

Re:It's not the fines.... (2, Insightful)

Theodore (13524) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416154)

This ignores 2 things:

1) People learn, usually by doing.
2) Police are not special, they are the same as anyone else.

If cops can learn to use a radio with complex codes to remember, or a laptop connected to a specialized system, so can anyone else.
If the 'anti-cell phone in cars' people had their way, we wouldn't even have radios in our cars.
The majority of people ALREADY know how to talk on the cell phone and drive safely, through experience.
The occasional event you hear about involving a crash caused by talking is just that, an isolated experience.
If the "distracted driving" people were right, there'd be at least a million dead on our roads every day.

There isn't; they're wrong.

Re:It's not the fines.... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416270)

"If cops can learn to use a radio with complex codes to remember, or a laptop connected to a specialized system, so can anyone else."

The cop is getting PAID to do it, and most of them have some desire to appear professional to their peers.

Joe Sixpack doesn't give a shit about much of anything.

Re:It's not the fines.... (3, Interesting)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416438)

It's more training than anything else. E.g. pilots learn to "aviate, navigate, communicate" in that priority order, cops learn to drive, then talk. Both roles need the person on the other end of the conversation to also be trained to expect pauses in the conversation. That is not the case when J6P is driving and having to deal with his wife talking on the phone about random stuff that is important to her.

Note that it's much safer when J6P's wife is talking to him while he's in the car: she can see him concentrating as the school bus pulls out while the fuel truck heads towards the closing railroad crossing. Then she stops talking. (That's why hands-free vs standard cell phones make virtually no difference in accident rates.)

Re:It's not the fines.... (4, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416448)

"I don't believe that the vast majority of people can be taught to do this safely and responsibly."

Yes, because the average person is incapable of learning simple skills. I had a roommate who was training to be an EMT. Her ambulance driving course had approximately the same number of instructional hours as my (excellent) driving training course in high school.

Now, how many quality instructional hours do you think the average driver has? How good is the test, and how often is it repeated? When I got my learners permit the ten question multiple choice test was easier than the test I'd done a week before in grade eight Home Ec. to use the sewing machine.

It is not hard to teach people skills like normal driving, dealing with distractions while driving, etc. The problem is that almost nobody gets the training because they don't have to.

Won't work. Unrealistic. (5, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416098)

It's the enforcement. We have really, really high fines here for all sorts of traffic violations, but enforcement is so lacking that it almost seems random. Your chances of getting caught are miniscule, so people learn to ignore the law. If they do get caught, the fines are staggering - but the one in ten thousand chance of getting caught is not a deterrent.

Actually it's not the fines or enforcement. It's training. Every police vehicle I've seen has a laptop mounted on the center console. Every time I see a cop driving around they have one hand on the keyboard and constantly glance back and forth between the road and the computer.

Cell phones and cars aren't going away anytime soon. Instead of punishing the citizens for doing something police are trained to do, train the citizens too. There is no reason that drivers ed. classes shouldn't discuss this and deal with it.

I think the best way to "think of the children" is to teach the children. If you don't want little Lisa to text and drive into a horrible wreck, teach her how to text and drive responsibly. Otherwise take your blanket statements and have every computer removed from police vehicles because otherwise we have an effective working double standard which provides revenue to the police force. Fuck that shit.

First of all, you cannot train folks to multitask because humans are incapable of doing it [npr.org] . The cops can't do it either. What you call multitasking is actually them selecting attention rapidly between their laptops and driving - if they're even doing that.

Two, even if it were possible to train folks how to do it, what makes you think that folks will follow their training? People are trained not to tailgate, speed, cut others off, etc...

Everything you've proposed is impossible. The ONLY solution is to ban cell phones in cars. There is absolutely no reason to talk in a car anyway - no exceptions. Got to talk? Pull over.

Re:Won't work. Unrealistic. (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416308)

First of all, you cannot train folks to multitask because humans are incapable of doing it [npr.org] . The cops can't do it either. What you call multitasking is actually them selecting attention rapidly between their laptops and driving - if they're even doing that.

First) So I'm not multitasking by listening to the radio, talking on the phone, typing this post, thinking about what i'm listening to on the radio, thinking about what i'm talking about on the phone, thinking about what i'm typing here, thinking about my posture, thinking about when i should take my next sip of coffee, etc, etc, etc?

Two, even if it were possible to train folks how to do it, what makes you think that folks will follow their training? People are trained not to tailgate, speed, cut others off, etc...

Everything you've proposed is impossible. The ONLY solution is to ban cell phones in cars. There is absolutely no reason to talk in a car anyway - no exceptions. Got to talk? Pull over.

Two) If people couldn't do what they've been trained and licensed to do, they would fail the training, and thus be unable to pass the licensing examination. They would also drive all over the road in both directions at all times while ignoring all signs and markers. I've seen video of this in 3rd world countries, the USA is 1st world thankfully your ideas don't match reality.

D) Nothing is impossible except banning cell phone usage in cars being the only solution.

**Bonus points to anyone that can spot my Christmas movie reference :)

Re:Won't work. Unrealistic. (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416506)

First) So I'm not multitasking by listening to the radio, talking on the phone, typing this post, thinking about what i'm listening to on the radio, thinking about what i'm talking about on the phone, thinking about what i'm typing here, thinking about my posture, thinking about when i should take my next sip of coffee, etc, etc, etc?

Nope, you're not. You give each activity a minuscule attention.

Two) If people couldn't do what they've been trained and licensed to do, they would fail the training, and thus be unable to pass the licensing examination. They would also drive all over the road in both directions at all times while ignoring all signs and markers. I've seen video of this in 3rd world countries, the USA is 1st world thankfully your ideas don't match reality.

Wrong again. They do what they need to do to pass and then do what they want once they're on the road.

D) Nothing is impossible except banning cell phone usage in cars being the only solution.

I'm afraid you may have gotten me there.

Re:It's not the fines.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416186)

teach her how to text and drive responsibly

Can't. Too busy teaching her how to play Russian roulette responsibly.

Re:It's not the fines.... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416400)

Cell phones and cars aren't going away anytime soon. Instead of punishing the citizens for doing something police are trained to do, train the citizens too. There is no reason that drivers ed. classes shouldn't discuss this and deal with it.

I know where you're going with this but the reality is, people won't want to drop the $9k for that driver training and that's how much it costs. People think it's cheap to train cops or something in Ontario it's $150k/per officer. On top of that, you tell me how many citizens are going to turn around and take 2 weeks for 4-5hrs a day(at the minimum) to learn how to do it? That's the average here in Ontario right now.

Now I'm sure if you can get something passed by government giving certification it might get somewhere. If you don't like the double standard here let me give you a few ideas. Hire more cops, stop pushing police to have a 7min response time(RRR). Those are the easy two. But it won't happen, until then suck it up and live with it. Next, help the police solve your own damn problems and stop being so apathetic.

Now, because there's no easy way to get information when you're going to a call. You're going to use a MDT, that's life. No one wants to be tied to dispatch because they're also overworked and buried in paper work. They won't hire more people for dispatch, they won't hire more people for ISF or ISS. Yet people complain when you dump the workload on the cop and they're doing the job of 4 people in their car(aka the fuckin' office). Hey on top of all this let me tell you about the paperwork that goes along with this stuff. The average occurrence has between 2-7hrs of paperwork to deal with now, why do you think these terminals are becoming so common? Because half of their time is spent writing reports.

Re:It's not the fines.... (5, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416452)

Actually it's not the fines or enforcement. It's training. Every police vehicle I've seen has a laptop mounted on the center console. Every time I see a cop driving around they have one hand on the keyboard and constantly glance back and forth between the road and the computer.

I find it amusing that you just assume that the cops are not, themselves, a danger on the roads when they're doing this.

Re:It's not the fines.... (3, Insightful)

Timosch (1212482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416458)

Police cars are also sometimes allowed to ignore red lights, use one-way streets in the wrong direction and ignore speed limits, in case of emergency. That, however, does not mean that we should teach every person to ignore red lights responsibly.
While I believe that your argument is valid in some other, not traffic-related cases (e.g. I believe that teaching young people how to drink responsibly is better than deterring them from drinking, but that is a different thing), I believe it is not valid in this case. When driving, have one hand at the steering wheel and occasionally one at the gearshift. That's it.

Re:It's not the fines.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416648)

OR they should require that cars sold now have cell phone connectors built in standard.
I know it sounds stupid but you are basically saying that people driving should not be talking.

Same here in California (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415864)

A law requiring the use of a hands-free device when using a cell phone while driving went into effect last year. For the first few months, there was a noticeable drop in the number of people seen with a phone held up to their ear as the Highway Patrol was concentrating on writing tickets for people caught doing that. Now that the CHP is no longer making a concerted effort to ticket phone users, the numbers are right back up to their old levels and I'm still getting cut off on the freeway by people paying more attention to their phone conversation than their driving.

Of course, it could be argued that the law was pointless in the first place since scientific studies have shown that using a hands-free device doesn't actually help prevent accidents caused by distracted drivers.

Re:Same here in California (2, Interesting)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415978)

Hands-free devices do little to reduce accidents. The big thing that causes accidents while using cell phones is the fact that most people devote most of their attention to the conversation.

When someone is with you in the car they can see the road conditions just as well as you can. They will often shut up when you are in a tense situation that needs your focus. When someone is on a cell phone they will chatter away regardless and your attention will be divided.

If you're going to use a cell phone in a car you have to be willing to tell the person on the other end to shut up for a bit when you need to and to be able to recognize when you need to. And the person at the other end has to recognize that this isn't rudeness on your part, but a basic safety precaution.

In reality, as I mentioned in another post, driving is a horrible deplorable waste of human time and attention. It would be better done by machines. The next best would be to have it done by a very small few in society so only their time was wasted, but people seem allergic to public transportation.

Re:Same here in California (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416110)

Hands-free devices do little to reduce accidents. The big thing that causes accidents while using cell phones is the fact that most people devote most of their attention to the conversation

Yep, agreed. Which why I mentioned that exact same thing in my post.

Re:Same here in California (2, Interesting)

bwalling (195998) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416202)

I actually prefer talking on a cell phone to having a passenger talking to me. I have no problem at all ignoring the person on the cell phone when something comes up and then asking them to repeat themselves. Passengers make hand motions, which often tempts me to look at them, aside from my natural tendency to look at the person I'm talking to. With someone on speakerphone, I have no inclination to look at them, and I can very easily ignore them.

I'm just one person, and it's an anecdote, but I really don't think it's fair to say that all people are worse off while on a phone. I'm much better on a phone than with a passenger.

Re:Same here in California (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416138)

The same law was passed here in Ontario and came into effect a few weeks ago, and I still see people using their phones while driving. Constantly looking away to text, or not signalling because they are holding it to their ear.

While they are trying to get everyone to switch to bluetooths, I've found the 2 I've tried are more of a distraction as they dont have acceptable audio volumes on them, and the people I am talking to have a hard time hearing me due to a window being open. I've tried an ear bud device and my GPS has bluetooth built in for calls. The GPS is a pain to use, as it sometimes doesnt connect fully to the phone, or will let me answer a call but doesnt give me audio right away.

Re:It's not the fines.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30415876)

Uh, if money doesnt deter them take the phone away for 1 week on the first violation. 2 for the next and so on...

Take away the thing. Seriously...

Want your phone back? It will be at this place on this day. You must then pay your fine to get it back.

Re:It's not the fines.... (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416496)

Ahh gotta love cheap pre pay cell phones

Re:It's not the fines.... (2, Interesting)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415952)

I would say it's the expected cost of violating the law that matters. In other words, it is probability of getting caught x the cost of the fine. If you raise the fine so high that it will bankrupt you ($1 million) then people probably won't risk it. People still park illegally even though the chances of getting caught is pretty high relative to other violations but since in most places the cost/fine is so low, the expected cost makes it worth the violation.

Re:It's not the fines.... (2, Insightful)

gutnor (872759) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416078)

Of course people will still risk it.

Human being is not a mathematical beast. People take risk that will kill them and/or cripple their family every single day. Think about tobacco, drinking while driving, ... or driving while talking on their phone. All that matters is the perceived risk. If the risk is limited enough they will do it regardless of the gravity of the consequences.

To solve the problem, you need to increase the risk so that people think that the risk is real. After that you need to make sure that they think the consequences are bad enough to avoid it.

The remaining problem is education. Since the threat is artificial, people also need to be convinced that the fine is fair like they do for the safety belts or alcohol.
Otherwise, like with file sharing, instead of stopping the risky behavior, they will try to dissimulate it to avoid the fine ...

Re:It's not the fines.... (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416174)

If you raise the fine so high that it will bankrupt you ($1 million) then people probably won't risk it

Then can you explain why people continue to text/use their cell phone while driving knowing that it increases their risk of dying in a car accident? THe problem is that most people do not have a good grasp of the actual magnitude of risk * probability.

Re:It's not the fines.... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416264)

Then can you explain why people continue to text/use their cell phone while driving knowing that it increases their risk of dying in a car accident? THe problem is that most people do not have a good grasp of the actual magnitude of risk * probability.

No, the problem is that people DO have a good grasp of the actual risk * probability.

And it's simply not that high. Yeah, you have a higher chance of an accident if you're texting/talking while driving. But it's not like you raise your chances of an accident to even 0.001.

And most people aren't all that worried about 1 chance in 1000 of having a bad day.

Re:It's not the fines.... (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416426)

No. I can prove to you that peoples' risk calculations are fubared. People freak out over the swine flu and terrorism and yet heart disease which kills a thousand times more people doesn't seem to get that much attention; certainly not enough for people to consider changing their diets and exercising a little more.

Re:It's not the fines.... (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416588)

A lot of people do this stuff where they perceive it is safe (i.e. where a low margin of error is not required). Unfortunately the perceptions of people aren't always accurate until they get into a close call or an accident.

Personally, I've seen one person, a 16 year old girl, try to text and drive at the same time. She allowed her vehicle to drift into both the left and right lanes multiple times while texting/viewing a text message, full aware of her lack of vehicle control (i.e. she made 3 corrections and was then STILL was texting). I could tell she was texting because she held her phone up to her head level, making a clear silhouette of it. She thought it was ok though because it was a 5 lane interstate with low traffic, and the other vehicles were simply moving around her as if she was a 70 year old driver, showing indifference to the behavior. When I pulled up next to her, honked my horn for an extended time (visibly startling her), and by giving her the finger, I gave the girl a reason to not continue the behavior. Instead of "what are the odds I will get in an accident", it is "what are the odds someone will do that to me again". She quit texting after I did that, at least until I pulled away.

If you don't like what someone does, tell them. Don't be a puss. It amazes me at people who will take the effort to write to the newspaper about bad drivers but wont simply take the 5 seconds to "inform" someone of how you disapprove of what they are doing. People will quit texting and driving if they knew people around them would do things like what I did. Personally, I wish I had a PA system and aimable paintball gun attached to my vehicle.

Oh, and all my near accidents and traffic errors due to conversation have occurred due to passengers, so don't talk about talking on a cell phone distracting people. Hands free devices certainty dont help either, thank you California, Washington, et al.

Re:It's not the fines.... (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416384)

I would say it's the expected cost of violating the law that matters. In other words, it is probability of getting caught x the cost of the fine. If you raise the fine so high that it will bankrupt you ($1 million) then people probably won't risk it. People still park illegally even though the chances of getting caught is pretty high relative to other violations but since in most places the cost/fine is so low, the expected cost makes it worth the violation.

What they don't mention is that the punishment is not just a fine - it's also three points on your driving licence.

Accumulate 12 points, and it's an automatic ban. Though most people tend to be fairly blase about these things until they've clocked up at least a few points.

Re:It's not the fines.... (1)

assertation (1255714) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416244)

In the U.S. many municipalities pick some areas or time slot with which to hyper-enforce traffic laws as a means supplementing the municipal revenues.

It is too bad they don't do that by targeting cell phone use.

Re:It's not the fines.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416440)

No the real problem is when I'm on the highway and I see a State Trooper go flying by me like I'm standing still while he's talking on his cell phone, I think "This jerkoff who is supposed to be enforcing the law has zero respect for it, so why should I bother to respect the law."

Lead by example, etc., etc

Re:It's not the fines.... (1)

shacky003 (1595307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416494)

I agree with the parent comment - it is the lack of enforcement that is keeping the activity going, not the fine amounts..
If you make someone have a bad day enough times by stopping them to give even a small fine, and wasting (in their eyes) 20 minutes of their day
and possibly the small embarassment of being pulled over, they will stop after 2-3 times being caught.. The $$ amount isn't what stops people doing this type of thing

I'm in the Buffalo, NY (USA) area, and when we had our little snow storm the other day (two feet of snow in my area) I had a driver in a minivan fly in front of me and spin out
while in blizzard (50mph winds) conditions, all because the moron was holding a cell phone to his head while he was driving.. He'll stop doing that when one of two things happen:
He is pulled over a few times while in the act, or when he kills someone.
I would rather it be the first..

Same in Los Angeles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30415818)

We're seeing the same thing here. The number of people driving with handsets to their ears dipped significantly when the law first took effect, but is now back up to almost where it was before. And here too, I think the main reason is lax enforcement.

Fine with me (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415820)

At least the gov gets money out of it. Perhaps it can be used to improve hospitals or something for the people who will die from the lack of obedience (dyamn that sounded totalitarian).

Not just London... (0, Redundant)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415832)

Not just in London, I think you will find that this is the case everywhere in the world...

Re:Not just London... (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415950)

Not just in London, I think you will find that this is the case everywhere in the world...

Basic human behavior, and it's hardly restricted to cellphone misuse behind the wheel. You see, everyone is somehow special and better able to handle a given situation than anyone else, and is therefore immune to consequence. That is, until such time as a consequence kills them dead, or if they're very lucky just scares the shit out of them. Cigarettes, drugs, risky sex, bad driving ... most people don't learn to think until after their stupidity nearly kills them. I don't have a problem with that, particularly, unless their mental malfunction gets someone else killed. That's what makes using that damn cellphone on the road a bad thing.

Wise up people, you're no better at driving and texting than anyone else, and nobody is any good at it.

Re:Not just London... (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416422)

Not just in London, I think you will find that this is the case everywhere in the world...

Basic human behavior, and it's hardly restricted to cellphone misuse behind the wheel. You see, everyone is somehow special and better able to handle a given situation than anyone else, and is therefore immune to consequence. That is, until such time as a consequence kills them dead, or if they're very lucky just scares the shit out of them. Cigarettes, drugs, risky sex, bad driving ... most people don't learn to think until after their stupidity nearly kills them. I don't have a problem with that, particularly, unless their mental malfunction gets someone else killed. That's what makes using that damn cellphone on the road a bad thing. Wise up people, you're no better at driving and texting than anyone else, and nobody is any good at it.

I'm sure someone will google up some contradictions to what I'm about to say, but I'm going to say it anyway. I don't see any cops crashing into people because they were using their laptop while driving. I said it above, it can be dealt with training. If you honestly don't believe that, than please explain to me how humans can learn to fly planes by instruments only. That's much more difficult that driving a car while texting, yet pilots are not rare.

I think fines will make little difference (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415860)

It's hard to enforce, and you would have to get enforcement percentages way up there for people to decide the risk/reward ratio wasn't worth it. And your police officers have more important things to be doing with their time.

No, the thing to do if you're a government and want to make people safer given this behavior is to do everything you possibly can to encourage the development and use of economical self-driving cars and/or really excellent public transportation.

Frankly, driving is a waste of valuable time and a task humans are ill-suited to doing.

Using a cell phone while driving is not dangerous (4, Funny)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415880)

I'm using my I-Phone right now to ma

Re:Using a cell phone while driving is not dangero (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416612)

ATT's crappy coverage strikes again.

Prohibit children (4, Funny)

crdotson (224356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415906)

I think they're going about it all wrong. Children are much more distracting to drivers in my experience. I can't count the number of times I have almost wrecked trying to pick up a pacifier, etc.

          London should prohibit driving with children in the car. It's an inconvenience for parents, but it's a safety issue. Likewise car radios should be banned.

Re:Prohibit children (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416402)

What a modest proposal...

Re:Prohibit children (1)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416530)

Banning is a touch extreme. We taught our kids at a very young age that cars have special rules: the main one is that "quiet" means "immediately stop talking for one minute."

They thought the rule was stupid until they got to watch a near accident at 50 mph in realtime :)

Re:Prohibit children (2, Insightful)

Nethead (1563) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416436)

Tie a short string between the pacifier and rug-rat.

Good (0)

cffrost (885375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415914)

As far as I'm concerned, people have the right to do what they want in their cars. If they fuck up, then there are consequences.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

nlawalker (804108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415984)

The problem with that argument is that if someone else fucks up, you or I may be affected by the consequences in terrible ways that no amount of compensation or punishment inflicted on the other party could correct.

Re:Good (1, Flamebait)

bwalling (195998) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416170)

You can't keep eliminating all behaviors over risk. Driving is dangerous. Driving while talking to a passenger is dangerous. Driving while talking on a phone is dangerous. Driving while changing the radio station is dangerous. Driving while getting a CD out of its case is dangerous.

I'm a little sick of the assault on cell phones while driving. I'm a much better driver while on a cell phone than I am with a passenger in the car talking to me. We encourage passengers (car pool/HOV lanes), yet we want to ban cell phones.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416250)

I'm a much better driver while on a cell phone than I am with a passenger in the car talking to me. We encourage passengers (car pool/HOV lanes), yet we want to ban cell phones.

Finally! My thoughts exactly! I never turn my head to look at the person I'm talking to on the phone. At least if I'm on the phone I am looking at the road the whole time.

Re:Good (1, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416260)

I'm a much better driver while on a cell phone than I am with a passenger in the car talking to me

No... You most certainly are not... It is that kind of attitude that allows people like you to engage in risky behavior that endangers other peoples' lives than your own. You have a right to risk your own life as much as you wish however, there is no such right to risk other peoples' lives at your whim because you think you're such a fantastic driver that the statistics don't apply to you. If you cause an accident because your attention was diverted by your talking on a cell phone it can be considered Negligent homicide just as drunk driving is in certain jurisdictions [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Good (1, Interesting)

bwalling (195998) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416302)

No... You most certainly are not... It is that kind of attitude that allows people like you to engage in risky behavior that endangers other peoples' lives than your own.

Did you read what I said? Do you generalize every single person to be exactly the same? Passengers distract me more than cell phone conversations. I didn't say cell phone conversations didn't distract me at all, only that passengers are more distracting that cell phone conversations. You have absolutely no ability to evaluate or refute that statement. Sorry, but you don't. I have a tendency to look at passengers when I'm talking to them. That's a bad thing. I don't do that on the phone. I have a tendency to get wrapped up in a conversation with a passenger. I don't do that on the phone. Passengers are generally not good for me.

Re:Good (0, Troll)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416348)

What exactly (besides the oversized ego) hinders you to stop talking to your passengers?

Re:Good (0, Redundant)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416562)

Tell me what is it about cell phones that makes a conversation on your cell phone any less distracting than having a conversation with a passenger? Add the fact that you're probably driving with only one hand on the wheel or in the case of texting actively looking away from the road and figiting with the keypad... I find it highly unlikely that what you claim is indicative of reality.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416626)

Tell me what is it about cell phones that makes a conversation on your cell phone any less distracting than having a conversation with a passenger?

He did, but apparently you're too distracted by your holier-than-thou attitude to actually pay attention to anyone else's arguments.

I have a tendency to look at passengers when I'm talking to them. That's a bad thing. I don't do that on the phone.

Now stop being a jack*** and go do something productive with your life.

The human condition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30415918)

We as humans by and large dismiss the chances of bad things happening if they haven't occurred to us yet in our lifetimes. This is especially true of adults who think they have "seen it all". I highly doubt those who have been in an accident caused by distracted driving would be so quick to dismiss it's danger. We see the same phenomena with many kinds of natural disasters where people choose to wait it out thinking that is can't possibly be as bad as it ends up being. Many people fill their lives with things that if they took a moment to think about the impact they would never do them again. Smoking and tailgating come to mind.

If it's truly more dangerous (1)

sackvillian (1476885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415936)

We only need to wait on a little natural selection to kick in for the usage to drop.

Just kidding - start enforcing the law!

Re:If it's truly more dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30415988)

TFA doesn't seem to give actual percentages or numbers, but I bet the "most people" claim is totally unjustified.
I think most people didn't use their phones while driving before, and most don't now.
Sure, we want people to be safer, and it's a concern if the unsafe percentage is rising, but don't act like "everybody's doing it."

Positive Reinforcement (1, Insightful)

xwizbt (513040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415958)

Have they tried educating rather than penalising? Strange as it may see, most of us respond positively to scientific fact rather than an impersonal fine. Who can say why this takes place?

Re:Positive Reinforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416020)

So how do you explain Intelligent Design?

Re:Positive Reinforcement (1)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416082)

Oh Come On! You will never be elected by being soft on crime! We must INCREASE THE PENALTIES!

Take money out of education, social programs, health care, rehab, and PUNISH THE CRIMINALS!

Re:Positive Reinforcement (4, Insightful)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416088)

Have they tried educating rather than penalising? Strange as it may see, most of us respond positively to scientific fact rather than an impersonal fine. Who can say why this takes place?

Man, what alternate universe do you live in? Whichever it is, I want to go there--a large percentage of the people in my universe don't seem to respond to any sort of fact, scientific or otherwise. Only a cold, hard dose of reality (such as running their car into a fire hydrant at the end of their driveway) ever gets through to them.

Re:Positive Reinforcement (4, Insightful)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416280)

hard dose of reality (such as running their car into a fire hydrant at the end of their driveway) ever gets through to them.

In my universe that person would blame the fire hydrant...

Re:Positive Reinforcement (5, Insightful)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416102)

Have they tried educating rather than penalising? Strange as it may see, most of us respond positively to scientific fact rather than an impersonal fine.

What planet do you live on? Facts don't dissuade people from doing what they want to do. A lot of it in this case is self-overestimation: people will continue to cell/text/IM while they drive because in spite of the evidence, they are all convinced that they are an exception to the rule and can do these things and still drive safely. In their minds, those studies and laws apply to all those other people, not me. It's very reminiscent of "well, most people probably shouldn't drive after drinking, but I can do it just fine."

I think the best way to "think of the children" is to teach the children. If you don't want little Lisa to text and drive into a horrible wreck, teach her how to text and drive responsibly.

How about teaching little Lisa to keep both hands on the wheel, both eyes on the road, and her mind focused on driving? How about teaching her that that phone call or text can wait until she gets where she's going? How about teaching her that the world won't come to an end if she's not constantly in touch with her little friends 24/7?

Re:Positive Reinforcement (1)

Shatrat (855151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416642)

People convince themselves that they can drive just fine drunk, talking on a cell phone, and doing their makeup because they WANT to believe it.
There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

By "much higher" you mean "10%". (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30415974)

It's bad, but it's not that bad.

It would be interesting to see a productivity study to go along with the accident study. I'm not claiming to know what it might say, but it would be interesting to understand if any tangible benefit could be defined.

Use the same penalties as DUI (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416052)

In this case you are driving under the influence of an electronic device.

Double Standard (0, Flamebait)

beachels416 (1275784) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416054)

I'm also from California, where it has been illegal to drive while on a cell phone for some time now. The problem is that not only is the fine only $20, but it is also only a secondary offense, meaning that you can only be cited for cell phone use in conjunction with some other ticket, such as speeding or reckless driving. That means that even if the police see you talking while driving, they can't do anything about it short of checking if your tail lights are both working and trying to get you on that. Not only that, but it seems to me that not everyone thinks the law applies to them. Take Maria Shriver for example, she was caught by paparazzi (yes I normally hate them) talking on her cell phone, and although Arnold threatened to "punish her," I know that it certainly doesn't make me want to stop using my cell phone in the car. Maybe it's because I'm part of the younger generation who learned to drive when cell phones were already prevalent. Nothing against older people, but it seems to me that most of the accidents are caused by them on cell phones, not by the younger one that grew up with cell phones...

Texting and driving (5, Insightful)

Sollord (888521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416062)

I was almost hit by some asshat teenager in a SUV two weeks ago because he was texting on his fucking phone in the middle of the night while doing 70mph down a freeway I ended up in the ditch avoiding the lil fuck. Police should fine them and confiscate the phone and have it destroyed. Talking and driving is one thing but to be so stupid as to fucking text and drive is an entirely different thing. Hell throw in a 6month license suspension if they get pulled over for texting and driving. I hope anyone who texts and drive hits a bridge at 80mph and dies in a painful and messy manner. If you didn't notice I really hate people who text and drive.

Re:Texting and driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416418)

I know pretty much exactly how you feel. I ride a motorcycle back and forth from university, and as I was coming home one night I almost got ran over by a non-attentive girl in her little beetle-bug texting on her phone. It wouldn't have been as bad on a straightaway, as I could have sped up/slowed down and easily avoided her. But it was a multi lane highway turning onto another main road. I was stuck in the middle of the three lanes, and she got so close I could have kicked her window in (which in retrospect I wish I would have) and I was as close as I could be on the other side without bumping my head against the other cars.

That said I don't think that those *drastic* measures need necessarily to be applied, but a stricter enforcement of the laws would be more appropriate imho.

Obvious.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416080)

it's not the amount of the fine it's the likelihood for getting caught.

same as every other crime.

People will risk their jobs just to nick a 20c pen from work.....

Risk (1, Insightful)

valkraider (611225) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416126)

"there's a much higher risk of being involved in an accident if you're" in a car. In the USA 40,000 people a year are killed by the automobile directly, and thousands more are killed by the side effects of an automobile centric society. That is more than ten 9/11s. every. single. year.

What, the tax cameras can't tell? (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416184)

We actually have to rely on people to fine and tax Londoners? That sounds like work.

No Problem (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416200)

Rule to survive:

If you see somebody driving erratic, keep extra distance behind, then try to pass quickly and check cellphone-use. If positive, take note.

Keeping a tab on positive will quickly convince you that

a - It's a dangerous world out there
b - Darwin's law of survival... holds true
c - Politicians are stupid (CO no-phone-use-in cars was watered down to no-messaging-while-driving)

http://www.livescience.com/technology/050201_cell_danger.html [livescience.com]

Blue Tooth (1)

WhatsAProGingrass (726851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416206)

Solution: Blue tooth keyboard that mounts to steering wheel so that half the keys are on left side of wheel and half on right side of wheel. It is blue tooth enabled to your phone. Either mount phone on steering whell or even better have a HUD on your windshield. I would have to say it would be more likely for me to crash during texting then during reading a text. I can type without looking so get me that keyboard!!!

Technology vs technology (0)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416212)

Enforcement or behavior modification thru financial disincentives are always ineffective because they rely on people. People don't want, and should not be required, to mitigate the incredible stupidity of other people.

Although the cost of a motor vehicle will increase, the solution is to install low power cell phone interference generators, multiple with redudancy and overlap, in all automobiles and other vehicles which use public roads. These devices would be active devices only when the vehicle is operating. This would not interfere with emergency calls since most emergencies should cause the vehicle to stop. The power should be kept very low; and the design should cause the system to burn out if creative people try to boost the power for creative purposes. Failure of the cell phone interference system should also cause the vehicle to fail annual inspection.

This won't stop creative people from using cell phones while driving. But it will stop your average, technically disinclined idiot who should not be driving and phoning.

Re:Technology vs technology (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416336)

Statist.

Re:Technology vs technology (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416666)

So you want to outlaw passengers using cell phones, too? How about the nanny state mind its own fscking business and deal with actual bad driving? Oh, that's right--that would take work and not generate so much revenue.

LA may be better (1)

dFaust (546790) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416278)

My own casual observation (and one that my friends seem to agree with) is that since Los Angeles introduced a similar law last year, it has in fact curbed such behavior. Prior to that it seemed to be a much bigger problem (as it was in previous cities I lived in). This isn't to say you don't still see it most of the times that you drive, but more frequently it's that one idiot on the cell phone during your trip rather than a whole road full of idiots on their cell phones.

Everyone I know has also made it a point to get a bluetooth headset to use while they're driving, as well. Your Los Angeles Mileage May Vary.

Re:LA may NOT be better (1)

beatbox32 (325106) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416604)

I work in south LA and in my experience, there are just as many people talking directly on their handset and checking their Blackberry, if not more. I just don't think it's being enforced. But really, it seems nearly impossible to enforce that law with any sort of efficacy. Just another useless law brought on by populist politicians...

Personal observations (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416300)

Why is it every time I see a cop they're on the cell phone?

The best thing I did to improve my driving cellphone-wise was set my Blackberry to no alert on email when holstered.

Big Surprise (1, Insightful)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416314)

Can you blame people for not caring about victimless crimes? You might as well fine people for disregarding the "Wet Floor/Piso Mojado" sign.

Don't get me wrong, if you run over someone because you were texting, you should get assault with a deadly weapon at least and negligent homicide at most (assuming no ill intentions), but nothing should be done until you actually do something wrong and injure another person or destroy someone else's property.

Re:Big Surprise (4, Insightful)

haruharaharu (443975) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416410)

by that logic, I can drive drunk as hell and it's okay, just so long as I don't hit anybody.

Re:Big Surprise (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416590)

You are correct. That fits squarely within the parent's argument.

Not victimless (1)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416600)

Driving while distracted is not a victimless crime. There wouldn't be so much support for penalizing phoning and texting while driving if we weren't all experiencing idiotic driving by cell phone wielding seat warmers every day. Ninety percent of the time when I see another vehicle do something dumb - like running a red light, plowing through a pedestrian crosswalk when all the other traffic has stopped for somebody to cross, changing lanes without looking, or sitting at a green light - I then see that the zombie in the driver seat has a cell phone in their hand. It's just a matter of time before those dangerous acts become fatal acts.

Should driving drunk not be a crime until you kill somebody? Should firing a rifle randomly at a park not be a crime until you kill somebody?

I'm willing to wager that at least 50% of accidents these days involve somebody under the influence of a cell phone. My 45-minute commute frequently gets pushed over an hour by daily accidents on busy roads. What's the cost of the thousands of people like me who are stuck in traffic for an extra 30 minutes?

I'd like a hood-mounted cell phone jammer on my car. But I fear it would just confuse the zombies more if they lost contact with their super important urgent essential conversation partner.

Talk to live (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416398)

Live to talk.

Social contact is more important than life itself.

The new drunk driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416412)

It used to be when you saw some one weaving in a car they had been drinking. Now every time I see it the person is talking on their cell phone. If they drive like they are drunk then they are functionally drunk. Some may handle it better than others but it's risky behavior and it is killing people. I lost a close friend to a drunk driver and I just don't see the difference between some one all over the road while they obsessively talk on a cell phone and a drunk driver. It's even worse because drunk drivers aren't always drunk when they are behind a wheel but people that talk on phones when they drive tend to always do it.

"Most people ... still don't respect" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416434)

Considering that TFA says ~3% of people surveyed /in London/ use their mobile phones while driving, this doesn't seem to suggest what the article states - "It seems that most people, at least in London, still don't respect the fact that there's a much higher risk of being involved in an accident if you're using your cell phone."

3% =/= most

Cell Phones = Boogeyman (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416454)

It's undeniable that cell phone usage distracts most drivers and increases danger. But so do myriad other things (eating a Whopper, smoking, smacking the kids around, having just one drink, etc.) and those are not singled out for prosecution.

So the inevitable conclusion is that it's not about safety, it's about taking advantage of the fear of new technology to generate revenue. And nobody respects that.

It turns out that encasing yourself in a 2 ton hunk of steel and plastic and hurtling it down the highway at 70MPH is inherently dangerous. But people make risk-reward calculations and decide to take the risks anyway.

How about if somebody crashes they're fully liable? That would make people actually re-consider.

clearly (1)

naeone (1430095) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416534)

clearly the public perception of the danger is lesser than the systems perception of the offence. that is to say that those that talk and drive mostly havent killed anyone (yet). thus its hard toi get it into there head that it might be dangerous. more people have died the year due to swine (mexican) flu this year than have died due to mobile phone use . and nobody thinks swine flu is a danger on the roads

Other solutions (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416558)

Federally de-fund roads and make transportation private - all of it. The Federal Government has decided what our primary form of transportation is by dumping trillions into a road system. If they stopped dishing out all those tax dollars to public transportation and, at the very least, simultaneously deregulated rail, then we would see a huge boon in other more efficient types of transportation. This would substantially reduce such problems as texting while driving. It would also reduce pollution and shipping costs - and thus the cost of the goods being shipped. For example, I work in the importing business and it is currently less expensive to ship a container of goods from Los Angeles to Dallas via truck than rail, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever except for the fact that the Government controls the laying of rail and unions control the rail already laid.

I ride a motorcycle and I can see quite well into other vehicles on the road, and my observation is that here in the SF Bay Area there has been no reduction in cell phone usage while driving since the passage of the various laws. I think that, if anything, the laws have made it more dangerous because drivers who probably are not competent to drive and talk are now also trying to avoid getting caught on the phone by the po-po.

I had completely forgotten about the law and I was calling someone on craigslist to arrange picking up a filing cabinet. I arrived at his house and there was nobody home, so I called him and he told me to "just a sec. I'm trying to avoid this cop - I don't want him to see me." And I'm like, dude, I'm just here for the filing cabinet....

Pressure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30416576)

A lot of people feel pressured to stay in touch with work or loved ones. Yes, even pressure from loved ones. If you ignore a text for 5 minutes or don't answer a call right away some people get upset. There's enough crap for one day already especially with work on your ass when you're already working through lunch to get the job done.
 
Captcha is "groaning", how appropriate.

Perfect condition to get some revenue (1)

RandomUsername99 (574692) | more than 4 years ago | (#30416660)

Take a hint from my lovely state, Massachusetts (among others... i know, but we're one of the worst.) If you're a government and you can fine people for doing something, and the fine doesn't deter them from doing it... well son you've just created yourself a source of revenue. It's addictive. Soon enough you'll figure out what other non-crimes you can make fineable offenses like declaring a snow emergency (a state where parking is restricted to make room for snow plows and emergency vehicles) when it's not actually snowing or very little snow is forecast, then give out thousands of tickets for $100 and tow everyone!

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