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Georgia Cop Issues 800 Tickets To Drivers Texting At Red Lights

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the making-it-up-in-volume dept.

Communications 1440

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

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1440 comments

jerk (1, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | about 7 months ago | (#44933045)

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

Re:jerk (5, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 7 months ago | (#44933101)

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

Re:jerk (2, Insightful)

green is the enemy (3021751) | about 7 months ago | (#44933203)

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

Re:jerk (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933317)

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

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

Re:jerk (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 7 months ago | (#44933385)

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

Re:jerk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933353)

There are more people breaking traffic laws. Also, traffic accidents kill and injure a lot of people. I'm not sure that they prefer doing that work, but sure, show me a job where the easy things are not done.

Re:jerk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933207)

Just another reason to avoid Atlanta.

Re:jerk (2)

Gernok (977745) | about 7 months ago | (#44933323)

It's par for the course for Gwinnett County... They're nothing but tax collectors who sit on i285 waiting for speeders entering the county... Now if they'd only start ticketing the people who consistently run red lights and sit in the damn intersections blocking traffic... But it's more profitable ticketing speeders under the super speeder laws in Georgia.

Re:jerk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933231)

Wrong. You can blame the po-po for giving tickets. They make the final call to give someone a ticket or not. They can also just give a warning or ignore it altogether. A good cop has had sufficient education and experience to make that judgement... Unless they have to reach a quota for the # of tickets they have to write each month, then the policy is screwed, and you cannot blame the coppers.

Re:jerk (5, Insightful)

thaylin (555395) | about 7 months ago | (#44933377)

So a "good" cop in your mind is one who selectively enforces the law, and not one who enforces it equally?

Re:jerk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933237)

That's exactly what you do, is complain about people doing there "jobs".

He could be doing his job enforcing any number of other laws.

Re:jerk (3, Insightful)

Dr. Sheldon Cooper (2726841) | about 7 months ago | (#44933255)

There are many laws for which police officers use their own discretion in regards to enforcement of said laws. This is possibly a situation where the spirit of the law and the letter of the law are not in sync.

IANAL, YMMV, etc.

Re:jerk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933259)

I have a manual transmission. when I'm stopped, it is not in drive. does it sound like this cop cares about that distinction?

doing ones job means determining if something illegal seems to have happened. at least to meet the threshold of not being thrown out of court instantly if contested. I don't see that here, ergo not doing his job.

Re:jerk (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 7 months ago | (#44933279)

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

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

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

Re:jerk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933289)

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

He's allowed to use discretion. If there's no chance at harming anyone or anything, then why enforce it?

Re:jerk (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 7 months ago | (#44933373)

Just following orders? Where have I heard that before?

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

Re:jerk (5, Insightful)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 7 months ago | (#44933383)

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

Re:jerk (5, Insightful)

BlacKSacrificE (1089327) | about 7 months ago | (#44933145)

The amount of times I have missed a red light because the dickwad ahead is fucking with their phones and failed to roll on is phenomenal. By the time said dickwad has reacted to my horn, put the phone down, and moved on, the light is often changing. Don't be that dickwad.

Re:jerk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933151)

Glad I live in Pennsylvania - we have a law that prohibits (and rightly so) texting while driving, but makes exemptions for vehicles that are not in motion or for using GPS.

Re:jerk (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 7 months ago | (#44933235)

Because it's *so* difficult to pull over, put it in park, and program the GPS while not in motion?

My phone's GPS especially... tie it to Bluetooth, put on some music, and let the voice command play through the car's radio... it'll turn down the music volume to state the direction, and then turn it back up. And if I miss a turn, it will recalculate almost immediately and doesn't need to be reprogrammed. There's literally no sane reason for you to need to futz with it while the car is in a traffic lane.

Re:jerk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933297)

My phone's GPS especially... tie it to Bluetooth, put on some music, and let the voice command play through the car's radio...

Not sure if you're aware of this, but there were in fact cars made before circa 2010/2011, and many of them are still on the road.

Re:jerk (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#44933205)

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

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

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

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

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

Re:jerk (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 7 months ago | (#44933209)

A jerk is statistically insignificant, but his superiors should do something. He is ticketing people for a technicality and that reflects poorly on his category.
The drunk pirate is not going to stop and wait for his turn while a cop is checking others on a red light texter, a missed by 2m/sec rolling stop, a hand not in proper position on the wheel...

FUCK YOU DOUCHEBAG (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 7 months ago | (#44933311)

You're impeding the flow of traffic for not paying attention to traffic lights. I have absolutely no problem with this. Your text can wait a few minutes until you find a parking lot or your destination. Most people are barely capable of operating their vehicles without distractions as it is. Anytime you are not paying attention to traffic conditions you are creating a safety hazard.

Re:FUCK YOU DOUCHEBAG (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933381)

amazing how driving flips a switch in a lot of peoples head.
the tolerance for 1 second delays (which can easily be made
up by the next light) goes to zero, and they get mad at the
slightest things.

Officer dickhead is a dickhead. (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 7 months ago | (#44933051)

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

Re:Officer dickhead is a dickhead. (4, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | about 7 months ago | (#44933113)

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

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

Re:Officer dickhead is a dickhead. (5, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 7 months ago | (#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:Officer dickhead is a dickhead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933227)

Very well I will just bring out a giant map which isn't illegal and accomplish the same thing

Re:Officer dickhead is a dickhead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933267)

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.

You've... never actually driven an automatic, have you? You just know you should hate them because they're for "pussy americans who can't drive", right? You're aware that if you take your foot off the brake of an automatic without giving it gas you lurch forward at the ludicrous speed of about a half a mile an hour and you've only got a microscopic 2 or 3 full seconds to put your foot back on the brake.

Also, you are using the handbrake every time you stop for a red light? really? REALLY? yeah. thought so. you get "bumped" you're going into that intersection too mr neutral.

Re:Officer dickhead is a dickhead. (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 7 months ago | (#44933365)

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.

Never heard of it, never seen any of my parents, friends or relatives do it. Typically at an intersection the car will be in 1st gear, clutch pressed with left foot, right foot on the brakes, certainly no hand brake. The only time I intentionally stick it in neutral while driving is if there's a significant wait that makes it less hassle to put it in neutral, release the clutch, press the clutch and put it back in 1st when the light changes. The only time I'd use the hand brake is for starting in a steep hillside, then you put the hand brake on, start giving gas and release the clutch so the car will immediately go forward when you release the hand brake. Otherwise you might bump into the car behind you.

Re: Officer dickhead is a dickhead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933181)

GPS units are fine, as was mentioned in the summary. People fiddling around in apps on their that might happen to use the GPS, not so fine. There has to be a line drawn to keep Jenny who is texting to Cath about Chelsea's new hair, from claiming she was "just using that GPS thing (Whatever it is. Did you see what Troy said on Facebook!?!). Talk to your legislators to refocus where the line gets drawn.

Re:Officer dickhead is a dickhead. (3, Insightful)

ancientt (569920) | about 7 months ago | (#44933241)

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

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

Re:Officer dickhead is a dickhead. (4, Insightful)

buck-yar (164658) | about 7 months ago | (#44933369)

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

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

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

Re:Officer dickhead is a dickhead. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933307)

I still think the cop is correct in enforcing the law. The law is wrong in my opinion, but cops should not go out there and decide which laws to enforce and which ones not. It is a dangerous proposition to say that they should decide what to enforce.

Of course its quite hard to make the law perfect, so its acceptable for them to sometimes enforce as they see fit, but the ideal would be they don't have to and aren't allowed to.

Re:Officer dickhead is a dickhead. (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 7 months ago | (#44933391)

Citing for using the GPS is fucking stupid.

You don't get it. How is being distracted, staring down at a screen, fiddling with a text message, any different than staring down at a screen, fiddling with a GPS route?

The point is, 800 idiots got busted for not using common sense; something sorely lacking in todays culture.

A law for everyone (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#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?

Texting while stopped = the new speeding ticket (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933059)

We shall soon see this trend follow speeding tickets as the latest method for the government to extract additional funds to spend irresponsibly.

Which is why I always put my car in [P]ark (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#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.

Re:Which is why I always put my car in [P]ark (3, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | about 7 months ago | (#44933081)

Uhmmm, I don't have P on my gear shift.

Does having P on your gearshift give you an extra break with the law?

Re: Which is why I always put my car in [P]ark (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#44933143)

If you have a manual, you have P on your handbrake.

Re: Which is why I always put my car in [P]ark (5, Funny)

pecosdave (536896) | about 7 months ago | (#44933159)

I don't P on my handbrake either

(yeah lame, but I really couldn't help myself)

Re:Which is why I always put my car in [P]ark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933149)

Well, there's gotta be some reason why American's drive automatics.

Re:Which is why I always put my car in [P]ark (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 7 months ago | (#44933213)

Well, there's gotta be some reason why American's drive automatics.

I'd probably break down and get one if I had to deal with Atlanta-area traffic, where the rule seems to be "drive as fast as possible to get to the next traffic jam sonner."

Re:Which is why I always put my car in [P]ark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933339)

Well, there's gotta be some reason why American's drive automatics.

Because it's not 1962 anymore? Why aren't you steering your car with hand-levers and cranking it to start anymore?

Re:Which is why I always put my car in [P]ark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933193)

I am not certain. But usually being in park means you are not driving. AKA not breaking the law. A few of these people should challenge in court.

A few losses for the Prosecution would end this practice.

Re:Which is why I always put my car in [P]ark (0)

BlacKSacrificE (1089327) | about 7 months ago | (#44933187)

I'd book you for parking your car in a traffic lane. How about you just pay attention to the road like the mature adult you're supposed to be.

Re:Which is why I always put my car in [P]ark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933301)

You're not parked as long as you're sitting in your car. The state of your transmission is irrelevant.

Re:Which is why I always put my car in [P]ark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933319)

What if he dropped a lit cigarette? A kid in the backseat screaming all of the sudden? What if you were adjusting your rear-view mirror?

I'm in the left lane on a three-lane regional road. Can't pull over. I'll put it in park as well.

Re:Which is why I always put my car in [P]ark (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 7 months ago | (#44933293)

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.

Did you get a parking violation for parking too close to an intersection? We actually have a law against that here. Which does make some sense, actually.

Re:Which is why I always put my car in [P]ark (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 7 months ago | (#44933361)

Did you get a parking violation for parking too close to an intersection? We actually have a law against that here. Which does make some sense, actually.

Presumably if you challenge it later, they wouldn't be able to confirm with any certainty that you wer too close to the intersection. Or too far from the kerb. Would a police oficer really remember exactly where a car was several weeks after the event? Even applying a fairly strong pro-police bias, I don't think the court would accept that one.

Re:Which is why I always put my car in [P]ark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933305)

My car doesn't go through R on the way to P. This also means my reverse lights don't flash during the transition.

I wonder how I could use the dashcam evidence in a similar manner.

GOOD! (Oblig. Liar Liar) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933065)

Stop breaking the law, ASSHOLE!

Re:GOOD! (Oblig. Liar Liar) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933121)

Agreed.. They day someone these people love is injured by a "texter" is they day they will quickly flip sides and be anti-distracted driving.

Re:GOOD! (Oblig. Liar Liar) (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 7 months ago | (#44933169)

The list time I injured someone while I was stopped at a red light, it was him that was texting while riding his bike.

The map one was prickish. (4, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | about 7 months ago | (#44933071)

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.

Re:The map one was prickish. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933261)

The GPS/map has to be as enforced because it is easy and fast to switch to it. Like the spreadsheet screen boss key built into some old games. "No officer, I was not texting, I was entering a destination on my GPS." It sucks but otherwise that becomes the standard lie.

Where are those driverless cars already.

Re:The map one was prickish. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 7 months ago | (#44933315)

When I drive I leave Waze up and have a Bluetooth earpiece in. I don't place calls, only receive and I'm not that popular. I don't text, or anything else, the only time I touch the phone is to report where a cop is - Waze is great for that......

Good news is I filled up my tank June 28th and didn't fill it up again until August 29th, almost cleared two months. I don't drive unless I have to. Unfortunately it's not fair to keep track right now, my clutch is out and we cracked the radiator tank towing it home so I'm not playing the time between fillup game at the moment. Yes I'm biking, but keeping track right now is cheating.

Re:The map one was prickish. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933363)

To the ear is not actually a problem for an experienced driver. Really no different than having a conversation with someone in the vehicle.

Texting is an entirely different beast, requiring manual dexterity and focus shifted entirely off the distant road to a tiny screen close to your face. It's a recipe for disaster, and all too often results in such.

Re:The map one was prickish. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933367)

> I'm a cyclist
thanks for making it easy to ignore the rest of your comment. In hope you die next time you coast through a redlight.

Finally! (5, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 7 months ago | (#44933079)

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! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933161)

Maybe he can help you get those kids off your lawn for good.

Re:Finally! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933189)

So, the officer's ridiculous, draconian interpretation of a law and your childish need for vengeance over people who take an extra 2 seconds at a light trumps any kind of intelligent discussion about the spirit vs letter of the law. Perfect.

Re:Finally! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933379)

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

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

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

KillaBeave (1037250) | about 7 months ago | (#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.

Re:Finally! (1)

Jaime2 (824950) | about 7 months ago | (#44933281)

Yes... because the first priority of the police should be to make sure you don't get annoyed.

Re:Finally! (2)

jmv (93421) | about 7 months ago | (#44933285)

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 it makes the most money rather than where it's most important doesn't help safety.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933327)

*agree*

I'll add this:
Putting on the horn to correct driving errors is one of the lightest things that can happen.
Sure, we all make mistakes while driving - but there are a few you don't have to make. Like texting and driving, or calling and driving.
If you absolutely need to be reachable, hand your phone to whoever's riding shotgun and let them handle your communications.
(if you absolutely have to be reachable and absolutely have to be driving all alone right now: you're doing it wrong.)

Push bumpers (2, Funny)

dave3138 (528919) | about 7 months ago | (#44933097)

I wish I had a push bumper on my car to give the people still sitting at a green light a little "nudge". It would be much more fun than laying on the horn. I'd love to see their reaction...

Re:Push bumpers (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 7 months ago | (#44933359)

I wish I had a push bumper on my car to give the people still sitting at a green light a little "nudge". It would be much more fun than laying on the horn. I'd love to see their reaction...

I do miss those 5 mph bumpers from the 70s [wikipedia.org] for that reason. I don't miss the aesthetics, but being able to actually bump the car ahead of you with no damage to either one had a certain appeal to the driving devil that appears over one's left shoulder. My dad actually did use them for that purpose against a driver ahead of us who had slept (I think) through three green lights and couldn't be roused with the horn. Fortunately they hadn't had a stroke or something, they did spring into action upon feeling the bump.

What if I but the car in Park? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933109)

Is the illegal parking ticket better than the Texting ticket?

I've done that on several occasions. Popped into a park when I knew the light would be long and checked my email / social networks. We have some lights that are darn near 5 minutes here. Doesn't make any sense to stare at the light.

Re:What if I but the car in Park? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933171)

No, what it makes sense to do is to look around you, and keep updating your knowledge of what's around you, and where it's moving, so that when the traffic starts moving, you don't get a shock by that kid in a push chair that gets wheeled out in front of you, and instead, knew it was there all along.

as a pedestrian i say great (5, Informative)

jonpublic (676412) | about 7 months ago | (#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.

Re:as a pedestrian i say great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933239)

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.

That is a good point. But I doubt it's this pig's motivation.

What about other states? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933129)

I live in Kentucky (the good part), according to http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/state-laws.html we have the same laws on the books as georgia. I wonder if that mean that if I have to do something with my phone GPS I could get a ticket?

Note that if I have to GPS I always set it up before I start driving, but I see a lot of distracted drivers here in this state I would love to see get tickets.

Texting and drving (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 7 months ago | (#44933131)

There is allot of bad science out there; reaching different conclusions about how dangerous texting and driving is or isn't.

Frankly I don't know that is whole lot more dangerous than the things people did before and still do; tinkering with tiny buttons and knows on radios, eating, looking at maps spread over the steering wheel, swatting at the screaming baby in the back seat, etc. Driving is fundamentally dangerous and distracted driving more so; but distracted driving is also a reality. As long as people are willing to take the economic consequences for the havoc they cause my vote is against laws regulating texting, cell phones etc.

That said I am glad this guy is enforcing the law. We have way way to many laws. The best way to get people to do something about it is make'em feel it.

Re:Texting and drving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933245)

What about the non-economic consequences when he kills someone? Not everything is about money, no matter what Ayn Rand says.

Re:Texting and drving (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 7 months ago | (#44933247)

There is allot of bad science out there; reaching different conclusions about how dangerous texting and driving is or isn't.

I do my best to allot my bad science equally across all fields of study.

It's a cash grab. (1)

kodabmx (2473710) | about 7 months ago | (#44933133)

This officer is just a revenue tool for the state, he cares nothing about the "safety" of drivers. Meanwhile someone was stabbed, robbed or shot but it's easier to stand at a red light and write tickets than actually doing police work.

Re:It's a cash grab. (1)

ThomasBHardy (827616) | about 7 months ago | (#44933197)

I'm so relieved that you were here to give us some solid facts on the officer's state of mind. Part Betazoid?

It's easier to catch them there (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 7 months ago | (#44933155)

I guess it's a lot easier to catch people texting at red lights vs. while driving. Especially since some people who would never text while moving might look at their phones there. However, it probably doesn't provide nearly the increased safety that the law was probably sold as providing. Compared to swerving across traffic into an oncoming lane, missing the light turning green is a much less serious hazard, IMO. (Yeah, yeah, it's Georgia, it might be legal to shoot someone that doesn't take off as soon as the light changes, the "move yer ass" law, maybe.)

On the other hand, "Officer" Myers might just be doing more to get the law changed than any citizen could. He's pissing off a bunch of people that would normally have supported a texting ban. Eventually, he's gonna ticket a state rep. Also, his "ten touch rule" subjects him to accusations of enforcing not the law but his interpretation of it. And he's on record with that, now.

Could he be trying to get the law changed by super-vigorous enforcement? Doesn't sound like it from TFA, but it wouldn't be the first time cops have aggressively enforced rules just to get the public to demand they be relaxed.

Gwinnett County Budget Shortfall? (1)

mbone (558574) | about 7 months ago | (#44933173)

What, is Gwinnett County behind on their budget ? Is their Police Department in need of some new cruisers ?

I am from Georgia, and no level of cynicism as to why he is doing this is unjustified. It's about the revenue, you can count on it. What
do you want to bet that most / all of the tickets went to people with Fulton County or Cobb County tags ? (The county of residence is right on the license plate
in Georgia; Fulton is Atlanta and Cobb is Marietta; classically these sorts of revenue drives avoid county residents to avoid an electoral backlash.)

Re:Gwinnett County Budget Shortfall? (1)

mbone (558574) | about 7 months ago | (#44933233)

By the way, if you doubt me, look up the wikipedia entry for "Ludowici, Georgia."

Perfectly reasonable - you're still driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933185)

The number of times a driver texting at a red light drives off at green, still texting, and then overtakes me while drifting left (equivalent to right in the US) makes me fully support this. A cyclist could be killed instantly or have both legs ground off against parked cars or street furniture. If the car's engine was off with the handbrake on, then that's on thing. If not, you are one pedal away from the people in front, crossing pedestrians and cylists in the advance stop zone and you shouldn't be texting, or fiddling with anything in the car.

Change the laws (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 7 months ago | (#44933195)

This guy was enforcing the law as written. The law must be changed. It is preposterou that using a hand-held GPS at a stop light sure is illegal but unfolding a map is not. Or was that illegal too, but never enforced? Civil disobedience. Running for office. Writing letters. Just change this.

Good for him! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933201)

Texting and driving do NOT mix well...

Red light / green light (2)

Walter White (1573805) | about 7 months ago | (#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.

Wonder how many of those are overturned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933221)

Cop admits car is sitting still at a red light. Person claims to have put car in park while at red light. Sounds legal to me!

meh. (1)

frootcakeuk (638517) | about 7 months ago | (#44933223)

I hate police at the best of times BUT I hate distracted drivers a LOT more! Yeah he's being lazy, taking advantage of a situation to get the tickets in but if it saves even ONE life, it's worth it. If you're using a phone as a GPS then it should be mounted in a holster or something so it is dedicated at the time. Got a text? Tough shit.

point taken, if not myopic. (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 7 months ago | (#44933225)

Texting and driving is way, way too prevalent. In ohio its an artform. People merge into the far right lane, press the phone against their steering wheel, and dont look up until the glow of the tail lights from the car ahead has completely illuminated their vehicle cabin. It renders the lane a horrendous mess of jerky start-stop traffic that wastes gas and infuriates anyone trying to merge from an on-ramp only to be met with a person whos completely divorced from operating a few thousand pounds of car or truck. It kills quite a number of people as well.

but as a police officer, fixating on one traffic infraction is a complete waste of my tax dollars. Try branching out and engaging in the two years of criminal law enforcement my tax dollars sent you to academy for. issue citations for the beamer roaring down the fast lane, or the pick up truck with a teetering unsecured mass of various brick-a-brack in the bed. I cant begin to list off how many people ive seen with a complete absence of functional tail lights, turn signals or competent lane change.

That's really general (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44933229)

"Unless it is a GPS-only device, such as Garmin or Tom Tom, something that is not used as a communication device," - I wonder how much they paid for that anti-free market law. Can I not use my on-star in my car? Do I have to be standing outside of it to push the button? Someone should try changing their songs on their ipod touch at this guy's red light and see what he does.

Damn Android Users ... (-1, Troll)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 7 months ago | (#44933249)

I for one am glad that this cop is out ticketing Map App users. Current Models of iPhone and Android maps have VOICE INSTRUCTIONS that tell you how far to drive and where to turn. I can only imagine that these are Android users who bought some cheap piece of shit phone that the manufacturer released with an already obsolete OS who have never and will never update their OS and are the main cause of Android version fragmentation.

I only wish he could put these Android users in JAIL.

FOREVER.

Gloating - but a good idea (1)

chicksdaddy (814965) | about 7 months ago | (#44933303)

Look, studies have shown that driver reaction time while texting and driving is far, far worse than the reaction time for impaired driving (aka driving drunk), which is clearly illegal. In other words, we (your fellow citizens) are a lot safer with you drunk driving than driving while texting. (See this Car & Driver study: http://www.caranddriver.com/features/texting-while-driving-how-dangerous-is-it [caranddriver.com]) So, apply the same logic as you would with drunk driving. Sure, these drivers were stopped at a red light, but would you expect the cop to look the other way if they were swigging from a bottle of vodka at the same red light ("well, the car isn't moving right now, so...")? He's right to read the law literally and also to assume that if they're texting at a red light, they likely won't stop texting once the car is moving. Take away: texting behind the wheel is a serious danger to public health and should be tolerated to about the same extent that we, as a society, tolerate drunk driving - which is not at all. My 2c.

We need more cops like that (4, Informative)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about 7 months ago | (#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?

Turnabout still fair? (1)

MiniMike (234881) | about 7 months ago | (#44933325)

I often see police officers typing on their laptops or talking on their cell phones while driving (and not 'driving at a red light'). Surely some enterprising victim wouldn't be too challenged to get pictures of Officer Myers or some of his colleagues doing the same. The law for us is the same law as for them, isn't it? At least theoretically?

I have no problem with people who are actually texting while pretending to drive getting tickets. But giving people sitting at a red light tickets does nothing to improve public safety, it only serves to rack up fines.

I do have to say that compared to a dedicated GPS, cell phones overall suck at the job. I've tried several GPS apps on my phone, and none were anywhere near as good at the job as my Garmin. Even the ones that almost did an acceptable job required more work (amount of tapping, time eyes on the screen instead of the road). But sitting at a red light is the appropriate time to be doing that.

If you can't control yourself ... (3, Interesting)

MacTO (1161105) | about 7 months ago | (#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.

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