Over zealous hands-free cell phone law enforcement
Original post made by John W on Oct 21, 2009
The other day, I was talking on the bluetooth, and I pressed against the bluetooth more inwards to hear it better. Then, a cop pulled me over, and asked me: 1) Are you using your phone for an emergency? 2) Can I see your driver's license?
Without knowing what is going on, I gave him my driver's license. He went away, came back and gave me a ticket saying that I have been talking on my cell phone without hands-free.
All along, the cop was on my left hand side, so I turned to show him the bluetooth I was wearing on my right ear, and explained that I was indeed using hands-free.
He asked, "If you have a hands-free, why do you have your hand on the side of your head". I said that I was pressing against the bluetooth to hear it better. His response, "Well, every body says that. I have already written you a ticket, so you will have to explain this to the court".
I understand, by putting a hand on the side of my head, that it may cause the police officer to interpret it incorrectly. However, in this case:
1) The police officer should explain the reason for giving me a ticket, before actually writing one
2) I should be able to exercise my due process right, to show him that I am indeed wearing my bluetooth on the right ear (which he cannot see from the left hand side), and to explain that I was merely pressing against the bluetooth to hear it better.
I will take this to court.
It appears that many people have had similar experiences, with some receiving those shoot-first-ask-questions-later-tickets by simply resting and propping up the side of their heads with their left hands.
Lessons learned: Do not place your hand on or near the side of your head, while driving, as it can be misread as holding a phone to your ear, and you can be ticketed before you can prove or explain otherwise.
on Oct 22, 2009 at 8:59 am
Thanks for passing on the info. Sorry you got stuck with a ticket. Sounds like a "fundraiser" bogus violation. Fight it in court! Best of luck.
on Oct 22, 2009 at 3:25 pm
I'm going to have to disagree with you, sorry. The phrase "hands-free" says it all. If you're using your hand - either hand - to talk on the phone, then you aren't hands-free. Using one hand to hold the bluetooth closer in your ear is no different than using one hand to hold an actual phone to your ear.
That being said, the law is idiotic to begin with. It's the conversation, not the act of holding the phone, that distracts drivers. However, your actions were a legitimate violation of a stupid law.
on Oct 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm
All I know is that things were safer when I was holding my phone, and I drive stick. Now it takes me about 30 seconds to untangle my iPhone cord so I'm not breaking the law. Somehow this is seen as safer by the state. Everyone's still holding it to their ear too, just take a drive and look around.