Distracted driving

plants 004-A

This is my neighbor’s pretty plant.

One night, David was on his way home from the gym.  He reached an intersection and when he noticed the red traffic light, he put his car in park, and picked up his cell phone to see if it was charged.  At that moment, a cop knocked on his window, and told him he was going to ticket David for “distracted driving.”

David:  “But, I wasn’t using the cell phone.  I wasn’t talking and I wasn’t texting.  I was simply holding it to see if it worked.”

Cop:  “Tell it to the judge.  Here, you will note on this ticket when to appear in court.”

During the period that ensued, David wondered if he should plead “not guilty.”  He figured he had a good case, and if the cop did not appear at the trial, the charge would be dismissed.

So, on Monday, he dressed in his aloha shirt, long pants, and shoes and drove to Ewa District Court.  He was called before the judge.

Judge:  “It says here that you were holding the phone.  Is that correct?”

David:  “Yes, I need clarification, your honor.”

Judge:  “It is against the law to hold the phone in your hand even if it is not turned on.  How do you plead?”

David:  “I plead no contest, your honor.”

The fine for the first offense is $100 plus court costs; second offense it is $200 plus court costs; and third offense it is $300 plus court costs.

David decided to charge the $147 fine on his credit card, thereby getting a 1% rebate.  It was better than writing a check and not getting a rebate.

Lesson learned.  Never hold a cell phone while the motor is running, because even though the car is stopped at a red light, it is still considered “distracted driving.”

16 Responses to “Distracted driving”

  1. granny annie Says:

    Wow! That is a very good piece of advice. Who knew?

  2. Olga Says:

    I did not know that! Strict.

  3. Kay G. Says:

    That sounds typical, go after the man sitting at a stop light, not the tons of folks texting going down the road at 70 MPH. You should see the cars that I see that actually run off the road, and you can tell by their posture that they are texting (head slightly bowed down and to the right.)
    I think all states have different laws but I believe that the cell phone laws will eventually become more like yours in Hawaii, that is what I have read anyway.

  4. Cathy Says:

    Curious to know if he lost any demerit points as well?
    Our road rules (laws) are getting tougher all the time – my pet peeve is seeing the girls doing their makeup or those eating their breakfast in the mornings. They never seem to get caught!
    Cathy

    • gigihawaii Says:

      Don’t know what demerit points are.
      Years ago, a woman was looking in the rear view mirror while brushing her hair when she collided into David’s car, causing significant damage to his headlight and fender. Cops were called and she had the temerity to blame it on David. Well, the cops sided with David and ticketed her.
      So, I know there should be laws governing all kinds of distracted driving!

  5. DJan Says:

    The way the law is written here in Washington state, you must have it next to your ear to be ticketed. So now people are using speaker phone and holding it in front of their face. I think Hawaii’s law is a bit on the extreme side. They don’t do the same for holding a hamburger, or a lipstick!

  6. Tom Sightings Says:

    My sympathies for David. He got caught on a technicality, as we all do sometimes. My last technicality cost me $185.

  7. Jeanie Says:

    I wish the police would be as vigorous about going after people who are texting while they drive as they were about going after David.

  8. Joanne Says:

    I think distracted driving should be anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road or the mirrors. That include eating and talking to others in the car.
    That said, I use the blue tooth in my car for all incoming calls.

  9. DeniseinVA Says:

    That’s too bad, what a shame! Makes me consider this situation a little more though, thanks Gigi!

  10. Suzanne Says:

    Wow! I had no idea. I am amazed how many people I see still texting while driving down the highway.

  11. SchmidleysScribbling Says:

    We need that rule here. Too many people, high on drugs, talking on phones and driving. While I was commuting, my car was rammed at least four times. Always by some distracted driver or other.

  12. Linda Reeder Says:

    That is a strict law. I wonder how evenly it is enforced. Here I see people on their phones all the time while driving even though it is illegal.

  13. Cathy Says:

    Hello gigi – little follow up on demerit points here in Victoria.

    They are penalty sytem that works in conjunction with traffic offences. As well as paying the fine for whatever, you can lose points – if you get 12 or more demerit points in any three year period you lose your licence.

    It’s an interesting list – Drink driving can result in losing 10 points – minor offences will mean the ‘loss’ for things like following too closely, not dipping your headlights, exceeding the speed limit by less than 10kmh is just 1.

    There’s a list here
    http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/Licences/DemeritsAndOffences/DemeritPointsAndFines/DemeritPointOffences.htm

    So far we don’t have the offence that David was found guilty of – using the phone while driving is as far as it’s gone here. For years drivers would just pay their fines and go on their merry way – this is a way that makes people think as most drivers value their licence. Of course there are serious offences that result in automatic loss.
    Cathy

  14. L...w Says:

    That hurts to pay such an expensive fine, especially when David wasn’t using the phone. But I guess the law was written so it would be cut and dry. Otherwise, everyone could argue that they were just holding the phone. My daughter was fined for just moving her phone in the car while having her ear set on.

  15. dkzody Says:

    California is very strict too. Same thing with seat belts. Cell phone use tickets are $300 here. Last I heard, not having your seat belt on was $250. And DUIs can be $10,000 because of jail time and legal fees.

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