I learned this lesson the hard way. Here in California (as in many states) it's illegal to text while driving or talk on the phone while driving, unless you are using a hands-free device.
I agree with this law. I don't text while driving and my friends know I frequently give them a hard time for doing so. Also, I don't accept calls on my phone unless it's through my hands-free navigation system in my car.
However, I would frequently pick up my phone while stopped at a red light, check for texts or tweets or even at times send a quick text. Until now.
A few weeks ago I sent a text in a shopping center (BEFORE I STARTED THE CAR) to tell Marshall I was on my way home. I put my phone down in the center console and then drove. When I was close to home and stopped at a red light, I picked up my phone to check if he responded back. That's when a cop next to me motioned for me to pull into the gas station. Little did I know it was a sting. Five police on bikes were pulling over every person stopped at the red light that touched their phones.
After the policeman pulled me over, he gave me the whole "no texting while driving, no talking on the phone while driving speech." Yeah, yeah, yeah, I told him. I don't do any of those things. I only look at my phone when I'm stopped at a red light. Apparently that's illegal too.
When the cop saw me, I wasn't making a text or a call. All I did was pick up my phone, check it to see if there was a text, and put it down. But that was enough to get me pulled over and ticketed.
He said this sting was part of their "educating the public" about the dangers of touching your phone when you're stopped at a red light. Seriously. Apparently I'm supposed to keep my hands at "10" and "2" on the steering wheel at a red light so I can maintain control of my car if I happened to be rear-ended. I didn't ask him if that applied to people driving stick shift.
It was a non-moving violation and didn't put any points on my license, but he said there is legislation moving forward that will hopefully add points to licenses in the future.
So, according to this cop, you're allowed to mess with your music via car radio and allowed to mess with any part of your navigation system, but if you even touch your phone at a red light, you will get a ticket.
How much was my ticket?? $160
Yes that seriously sucks. If you live in a state where it's illegal to text & talk on your phone while driving, consider yourself warned.
To check out my other blogs, visit:
Gingersnaps in the Morning
andMommy Hates Chemicals (But Ginger Doesn't)