As many people know, the use of text messaging has exploded in popularity in the past years. Many accidents have been caused by distracted drivers and New York was forced to take action, passing a law that texting and driving could result in a fine of $150 and three points on a license.
At first glance, the law seems pretty fair, but how would a cop see into a car well enough to actually see what the driver was doing with it? Maybe the driver wasn’t texting at all. Maybe the driver was using his or her GPS.
For anyone to be sure would be impossible. To contradict the obvious oversite, the law (legal name is VTL12225-d) has been extended to state “no person shall operate a motor vehicle while using any portable electronic devise while such vehicle is in motion.” Their definition of a “Portable electronic device” means any hand-held mobile telephone, as defined by subdivision one of section twelve hundred twenty-five-c, personal digital assistant (PDA), handheld device with mobile data access, laptop computer, pager, broadband personal communication device, two-way messaging device, electronic game, or portable computing device.
OK, seems fair.
Then their definition of “Using” shall mean holding a portable electronic device while viewing, taking or transmitting images, playing games, or composing, sending, reading, viewing, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or retrieving e-mail, text messages or other electronic data.
Subdivision one of this section shall not apply to (a) the use of a portable electronic device for the sole purpose of communicating with any of the following regarding an emergency situation: an emergency response operator; a hospital; a physician’s office or health clinic; an ambulance company or corps; a fire department, district or company; or a police department, (b) any of the following persons while in the performance of their official duties: a police officer or peace officer; a member of a fire department, district or company; or the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle as defined in section one hundred one of this chapter.
But then the law goes on to say “A person who holds a portable electronic device in a conspicuous manner while operating a motor vehicle is presumed to be using such device. “
The presumption established by this subdivision is rebuttable by evidence tending to show that the operator was not using the device within the meaning of this section. But who’s going to believe you over the cop? So it’s basically saying “if the cop says you were using you phone, Y=you were using your phone. It doesn’t really matter what really happened. Good luck in court.”
Recently, I had to go to an interview in a place I was unfamiliar with. As I always do before even starting my car, I check my mirrors, put on my seat belt and fire up the GPS application in my Blackberry. While driving, I checked my navigation a few times to see that I’m going the right way. And then I was pulled over.
The officer had seen me looking at my phone so had every right to pull me over but when I showed him what I was looking at, and even when as far as too show him my texting and recent call history to show exactly what I was using the phone for, I was informed that I was still in offence of the new law.
If phones are made with GPS in them, and the GPS’s primary use is in the car, obviously telling the driver were to make certain turns, then why has the government allowed this devise to be made in the first place?
To me it seems like a trap. Just another reason for police to pull you over.
What about the fact that there are so many phones now that are made to hold thousands of songs, and wires are made so that you can play the music in your car right through the phone. Another trap set up unsuspecting consumers? If drugs and fireworks are illegal, then so is the sale of them by an even more severe punishment. Yet, why is it perfectly fine when multibillion dollar corporations are selling its mass production products that are illegal to use?
The only purpose of a phone to radio car wire is for you to use your phone in your car, but that’s illegal; and you can buy one of these wires at any Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T. So what makes the sale of one illegal product different then the sale of any other? Was the government just too lazy to take this into consideration when they extended their “law?”
Now I’ve seen the commercials about texting and driving, which aren’t even made by the government, but are usually put out by the phone companies themselves. But is it not the government’s responsibility to make it known in some form of advertisement when laws are changed? For most of America, especially in todays economy, the common person is working harder and has less time to ask the government what there not allowed to do today that they were yesterday.
I’m sure there is an app that can tell me this information, since there is an app for everything, and I’m sure my network provider installed it in the phone for me for my convenience. But I’m afraid to use it. It may be illegal.