By on December 11, 2013

cookies

Distracted driving is a problem, and if you don’t believe us, just ask Sally Kurgis’s dad. (Miss Kurgis, by the way, got a sweetheart deal from the Columbus courts, something that is currently being hotly debated within the city itself.) Because distracted driving is a much safer and easier arrest to make than, say, drug dealing such a danger to the public, many police departments in California and elsewhere have a laser-like focus on punishing anyone crazy enough to touch a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle.

A Los Angeles comedian has decided to gum up the easy-ticket-money works a bit —- but there’s some genuine irony involved.

Randy Liedtke had a pretty great idea: bake cookies that look like iPhones, then wait for the inevitable traffic stop. Were the United States still a nation of people who cared about individual liberty, rather than a spiral walkway delivering human cattle to the abattoir of unemployment and welfare dependence while entertaining them along the way with DRM-restricted electro-pap and pornography, every mother in the country would be baking these for her husband and children tomorrow morning.

What if such a blessed event were to actually occur? What if the police of Los Angeles and elsewhere woke to a world where everyone was talking on a cookie? Would they arrest everyone they could on unrelated charges? Would their puppets in the state legislatures enact laws making it illegal to joke about using a mobile phone, the same way you can be detained and imprisoned for criticizing the TSA at an airport?

The truth is that they wouldn’t have to: hysterically-conceived bad legislation cracking down on eating, looking away from the road, and even talking to your own children is already in progress in New Jersey. If it succeeds, the long-hoped-for goal of making every driver a criminal subject to arbitrary enforcement will have finally come true. The day will certainly arrive where holding an iPhone-shaped-cookie is as much of a crime as talking on an iPhone while driving. When it does, just remember: It’s for your own good.

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101 Comments on “This Is The Tasty New Face Of Civil Disobedience...”


  • avatar
    thelaine

    With the police, so too with prosecutors. When everything is a crime, your ass belongs to the government.

    http://columbialawreview.org/ham-sandwich-nation_reynolds/

    With so many more federal laws and regulations than were present in Jackson’s day, a prosecutor’s task of first choosing a possible target and then pinning the crime on him or her has become much easier. If prosecutors were not motivated by politics, revenge, or other improper motives, the risk of improper prosecution would not be particularly severe. However, such motivations do, in fact, encourage prosecutors to pursue certain individuals…

    This problem has been discussed at length in Gene Healy’s Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything9 and Harvey Silverglate’s Three Felonies a Day.10 The upshot of both books is that the proliferation of federal criminal statutes and regulations has reached the point where virtually every citizen, knowingly or not (usually not) is potentially at risk for prosecution. That assertion is undoubtedly true, and the consequences are drastic and troubling.

    The result of overcriminalization is that prosecutors no longer need to wait for obvious signs of a crime. Instead of finding Professor Plum dead in the conservatory and launching an investigation, authorities can instead start an investigation of Colonel Mustard as soon as someone has suggested he is a shady character. And since, as the game Wu describes illustrates, everyone is a criminal if prosecutors look hard enough, they are guaranteed to find something eventually.

    • 0 avatar

      While I agree with you, the simple fact is that texting has caused numerous accidents and has cost many lives. The PUBLIC OUTCRY is what’s causing the enforcement to be stepped up.

      This guy is an IDIOT. Not only is he driving distracted holding his cookie, but he’s more concerned with TROLLING THE POLICE than he is with driving.

      I just ask that people who do stupid sh!t like this DO IT BEHIND ME so when the cops taze you/beat you or whatever – it does not in any way slow my commute.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Exactly. I am not normally a friend or defender of the police, but if my house was being robbed and I couldn’t get to my guns, I would want the police there and not being trolled by a man eating a cookie.

        • 0 avatar
          VenomV12

          If you are in an area where you have to worry about people breaking in, maybe the cops should be taking care of real crime and doing their jobs, not looking for people talking on phones, eh?

        • 0 avatar
          scottcom36

          If your police can’t tell the difference between a phone and a cookie I don’t know how much help they’re going to be.

          • 0 avatar

            You expect cops to be able to tell the difference between a phone and a cookie-styled-to-look-like-a-phone from 25 feet away through automotive glass???

            …3 musketeers bars do look like guns when pulled from your pocket at night after you’ve been told to stop and put your hands above your head.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        So let me get this straight. I can successfully drive an 8 ton truck through Baghdad while talking on a radio, working an arm mounted camera to see behind T walls , scanning the road for bombs, and smoking a Cohiba all with a 12 gauge shotgun and loaded M4 on either side of me successfully but I need a law that says I can’t eat a cookie (or talk on a real damn phone for that matter) to protect me which is to be enforced by a dude who was talking on the radio and probably working a laptop while he greatly exceeded the speed limit to catch up to me and pull me over.

        So long Liberty, we had a good run.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          Right. Iraq is where American police officers usually operate to catch distracted drivers.

        • 0 avatar
          MK

          Thank you for protecting our liberty.

          :)

        • 0 avatar
          SlowMyke

          While there are many capable drivers (like yourself, apparently) there are a whole slew of people who have demonstrated they are not capable of using a phone and driving, or even just driving at all. This is an instance where I fully support cops’ mission to gain funds via traffic tickets. Eliminating phone use in the car protects me from idiots ramming me at a light because they needed to LOL a text. Sometimes there is a legitimate need for policing idiots. If you don’t want to wear a seatbelt or wear a helmet on a bike, go ahead you’re the one at risk do long as the medical bills come out of your own pocket. Texting drivers seem to kill others more often than themselves, so pull the idiots over.

          Also, I’m sure this has been pointed out somewhere by now, but the cookie crusader had already been pulled over and arrested due to an outstanding warrant for unpaid tickets. Can’t say it enough, play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        bigtruck, I read your comment as masterful sarcasm. If I’m mistaken, please advise.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think it is worth bringing up that while individually people sometimes have a big problem with these laws, collectively they seem to overwhelmingly support them.

    I remember when the TSA was going to relax standards on what type of blades were allowed on flights and everyone had a major aneurism over it.

    In Florida, until just recently, it was not illegal to text and drive. However, support for a texting while driving ban was somewhere between 70 and 95 percent.

    I guess my point is that the government isn’t passing this without the support of the public. It isn’t just a few powerful busy-bodies.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      If 95% of people support banning something, does’t it still require a ban? That remaining 5% must be really causing havoc out there. Of course, the problem is always someone else.

      Banning this stuff is kind of silly because all it really does it open the door to making just about anything you do in your vehicle subject to a fine. There were already laws about driving dangerously, destroying property and injuring people on the books before distracted driving laws existed.

    • 0 avatar
      trackratmk1

      This Carnegie Mellon study reached a few interesting (and common sense) conclusions about distracted driving. http://www.cmu.edu/dietrich/sds/docs/bhargava/BhargavaPathania2013_AEJ.pdf.

      The “lies, damned lies, and statistics” crowd is welcome to chime in, but I can’t help but note the irony…

      81% of cell users talk while driving. Totally believable. Also according to the study, 80% of Americans want handheld phone use banned. Do we or do we not want to be allowed to talk on cell phones in the car? Ah I get it, we each want to be able to talk on the phone as long as everyone else is banned from doing it.

      There’s some logic for you.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Well put sir.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        It’s normal for drivers to assume that they themselves are above average, and that it is other drivers who are the problem.

        Which is to say that the vast majority drivers overestimate their own abilities and tend to blame others, instead of acknowledging their own mediocrity and accepting their roles in making driving safer for themselves and everyone else.

        This is one core reason why driver education is a failure. Many drivers presume that it is others who are in need of the education. And those drivers who do have additional training often assume that it gives them license to push the envelope further still, which often makes them even more hazardous than those who don’t have the training. Lots of finger pointing, not much personal responsibility.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        “Ah I get it, we each want to be able to do whatever the hell we want as long as everyone else is banned from doing it.”

        There fixed for accuracy. That’s the US of A for you in a nutshell. Its how we roll at home and on the world stage.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      ajla, I think you may be confusing some media articles covering the hysterical overreaction of some “activist” types who screech in horror at things they dislike as a (usually lucrative) vocation with “everyone”. News articles from professional fainters who make money or get the attention daddy never gave them by having the vapors over this proposal or that aren’t necessarily indicative of public support.

      Lots of members of the public are too damned stupid to resist the urge to legislate against their annoyances, true. But that’s not the same thing as a policy having wide spread support.

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    You can be charged under drug laws for possession of something that looks like drugs even if it’s only sugar or oregano. There is no more serious crime than making fools of cops.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I’m pretty sure these cookies could be included in Chris Rock’s skit on how to not get beat by the cops. Being right/ wrong is not the same thing as winning/losing.

    • 0 avatar
      Larry P2

      When I was practicing law, I actually had a jury convict a guy for possessing coffee creamer – which is a law prohibiting the possession of “counterfeit drugs.” He went to prison for it for two years.

      Now do you know why I am so adamantly opposed to the War on Drugs?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Damn. Just damn.

        Your former client would be infuriated by the stuff I hear about the local DA’s office won’t prosecute. The worst was the guy they caught with a “brick” of H, which I was told gets broken up into something like 200 stamp bags. ADA didn’t think it was enough to win a prosecution as they couldn’t prove it was his or something to this effect, they did however later prosecute this suspect on some other kind of charge from the same arrest (I think auto theft of a gfs car or something). Suspect walked.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        >>shakes head<<

        I would love to see the reasoning behind that?

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    This is great!

    In the same spirit as those T-shirts with the fake seatbelts sewn to them!

    Get off your asses people! Remember, The Man’s not gonna stick it to himself!

  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    I love you Jack but talking on the phone and driving is really, really dangerous. Your freedom ends where my nose begins.

    • 0 avatar
      alexndr333

      “Really, really dangerous” needs a bit more definition. If thousands upon thousands are talking and driving and a few hundred accidents happen, is that too many? Does it justify a ban (when eating and driving can also result in hundreds of accidents)?

      I think it’s fair to say that the human brain is a more complex machine than we will acknowledge in our public debates: Most of us can daydream on the road without an accident as part of our brain monitors our eyes and ears for unexpected changes in our environment while another part thinks about work or tonight’s date or nearly anything else. We can’t exactly outlaw daydreaming.

      There have to be limits, I suppose. As Emo Philips once reported, “I was driving down the road, weaving from side to side, because I was trying to change the radio. And I had just gotten the old one out…”

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Hey “MPA” did you know that cellphones (F/K/A “car phones”) were expressly designed and approved for just this purpose (at least in the U.S.).

      The original analog cell phone required a 5 watt transmitter, much too big to carry around. They were hard wired into automobiles, with the handset placed in a cradle between the front seats, with dialing buttons on the back of the handset. No speaker phone, no handsfree, no Bluetooth.

      Of course, this happened in the Regan administration, which, I suppose, explains everything.

      I submit to you that what’s happened is just one more example of the expansion of the regulatory state.

      Pretty soon, we’ll ban alcoholic beverages. After all, they do more harm than good, when you add up the social costs of alcoholism in terms of car crashes, careers destroyed, spouses beaten, and people reduced to begging on the streets.

      Oh, wait . . . I’m dimly recall that we did that before.

      Of course practically no one is alive today who remembers who that progressive project turned out.

    • 0 avatar
      stuart

      Here in California, it’s illegal for me to use my cellphone while driving.

      However, there is an exception to the law: LEOs are permitted to use their cellphones while driving. (At least, while on-duty.) And here in the Silicon Valley, it’s very common to see LEOs chatting on their cellphones while driving.

      (As for myself: I’m not smart enough to talk and drive at the same time. I don’t use my cell in the car, period.)

      I guess it’s safe for LEOs to use cellphones because they’re “trained professionals” and I’m not. I’m probably not smart enough to eat a cookie while driving, either.

      Regardless, I’m amused by the cookie stunt, and I’ll be interested to hear what happens when Mr. Liedtke gets pulled over and offers a cookie to the nice LEO. :-)

      stuart

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      Yes, talking on the phone is really, really dangerous and should be illegal.

      …except for the Virginia State Trooper I passed the other day who was talking on her cell phone behind the wheel because somehow she’s fundamentally different than everybody else she will cite for talking on a cell phone behind the wheel.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    Given the odds that just about any encounter with police nowadays ends up with the citizen being tasered or shot, I’m not sure how far I’d go in pranking the cops for a pull over. The down side is just too dangerous. He could tase you just for the hell of it and he won’t even end up with a post-it note in his disciplinary file.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      It doesn’t help that cops don’t seem to be held to very high physical standards…if you’re 150 pounds overweight because you’re allowed to be, why run after the suspect when you can tase him and just pick him up?

      If we’re going to treat cops like a military force, they should be held to the same physical standards as our soldiers.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        There are minimal physical standards to get in, but once you’re in you’re in since cop is fundamentally just another public sector union job. Except with the weapons to kill, steal and rape that desk jockey bureaucrats lack.

        I agree cops should have ongoing physical standards, but good luck. Members of the military are not (luckily for democracy and the avoidance of an even larger military industrial complex) represented by unions, so they can actually be held continually accountable to physical standards.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Exactly. I feel like some police officers (not all, they’re not ALL bad eggs) would rather kill a suspect and file the paperwork than have to actually put in the effort to catch them and go through due process.

    • 0 avatar
      LeeK

      This. Inviting a traffic stop and then punking the LEO is not a recipe for hilarity in my book.

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    Isn’t watching citizens to see if they’re engaged in distracted driving itself a form of distracted driving?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      No, the one in the passenger seat is watching that. The one driving is looking beyond the car in front of him and scanning from side to side, checking the rear view and side mirrors like he/she is supposed to. That’s why police cars are never in accidents.

  • avatar
    vcficus

    When cookies are outlawed only outlaws will have cookies.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    When a society becomes a bunch of pussies, governments take advantage and pass every law they can get away with to strangle the public to death, while simultaneously profiting off the public. The reality is we are 17 TRILLION dollars in debt, these scumbag corrupt politicians, and people that fall under the government umbrella don’t want to stop living their lavish lives and simultaneously they have to figure out how to pay this money down too. So, they implement every law they can put on the books that conveniently puts money in their coffers under the guise of “keeping you safe” or some other bullshit, combined with unconstitutional property seizures and other nonsense to keep the gravy train rolling.

    Like all corrupt organizations and entities, as history has proven over and over, they will eventually push the general public too far. I imagine they are anticipating this, thus the increasing militarization of police and push for tougher gun laws and of course, the ever so friendly drones.I hopefully will be long gone from this country when this crap hits the fan.

    • 0 avatar
      MK

      You sound subversive. Are you a terrorist?

      Why do you hate our freedoms?

      • 0 avatar
        VenomV12

        Oh eat a d!ck you a$$licking coward. I read your comment above to the guy who was in the military. Just out of curiosity, how come cowards like you that are always talking about freedom and other nonsense are always too scared to actually fight in the military? Just another Gary Sinise/Ted Nugent. All pants and no trousers.

        • 0 avatar
          MK

          Bwahaha! Dude you are wound WAY too fuck1n’ tight!

          Take the tinfoil off your head, unbunch your pantie$ and use your pressure washer to hose the sand from your mangina..

          If you can’t read the sarcasm into this hilarious, tragi-comic thread then you’re a humorless, brain dead m0r0n and I’m sorry that we happen to agree on this particular topic.

          Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to perform ana1ingus on my wife.

          Good day sirrah.

  • avatar
    bringmecoffee

    Reminds me of when I was 16/17, IBC Root beer came in Brown bottles and we would drive through town drinking it, thinking how funny it would be to get stopped over it. Good times…..

  • avatar
    Shamwow

    TTAC

    Tasty Truth About Cookies

  • avatar

    Ha, I love this so much.

    We already have laws against reckless driving, so cell phone-targeted laws seem to be a bit superfluous to me. If you can’t control a vehicle and use a cell phone, guess what that is?

    If I wasn’t so adamant about keeping my car crumb-free, I’d totally want a tasty iCookie! Hehe.

    • 0 avatar
      trackratmk1

      Precisely. If you can’t control your car on the road, you should be pulled over and dealt with according to the severity of your offense. You have become a danger to others. End of story.

      Whatever you’re doing to cause a loss of control or an accident is irrelevant, because all that matters is that you are responsible for the safe operation of your vehicle at all times. The charge could be reckless driving, failure to stay within lane, or any number of ways to cause or almost cause an accident.

      I too want an iCookie!

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I have to side with the police/law enforcement on this one. If its illegal to text and drive, just put the phone away. There is nothing so important that you cannot pull over or just wait until you get to your desitination.

    Though I agree a good many of these types of laws have the ulterior motive of filling the public coffers and funding departments at the expense of unsuspecting motorists, it is a law enacted by your elected officials. As a taxpayer, I dont think its that funny to waste the time of the police with cookie shaped phones.

    This guy is so dam funny, it will really be hillarious when his house is invaded by armed men and the police show up to protect him with cookies shaped like guns.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      If a bunch of armed men are already in your house and your salvation is to call the cops they may as well bring cookies as you will be long dead by the time they arrive.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      Speaking as someone who has first hand experience with law enforcement…I don’t. It’s another bullshit excuse to write tickets. Tickets which officers are reminded brings in “revenue”.

      Sure, there are occasions when someone is being a royal derp and it would be awesome to be able to ticket them or arrest them for what they are doing. The dude who hit stopped cars at an intersection nearby the other day because he was so busy texting when the light went green that he applied gas without applying any steering should get written up for something…but there are already plenty of statutes that you can hammer that dude with.

      Your “just put the phone away!” instruction should be first applied to police officers, who are always on the phone while behind the wheel because the cop car is their office. They talk and text behind the wheel more than anyone else I’ve seen and excuse it with “Well, I have training.” They have sub-par training and nowhere near the skill behind the wheel that they think they do…which you figure out pretty quick about the umpteenth time you show up at a scene to find that somebody was breaking a chase policy and managed to do a full-on Dukes of Hazzard into somebody’s house with a CVPI because, golly, that turn was a lot sharper than they thought.

      As for wasting the time of the police, you seem to think that cops spend their taxpayer time productively. I can assure you that a very large number are not, in fact, spending their time productively. That can be argued from a very broad perspective in terms of not finding someone citing motorists for 4 over in an area that’s got all manner of bad men to deal with, but prefers revenue generation instead to a very narrow perspective of looking at how much of a typical officer’s time is spent gossiping with others instead of making arrests or productive stops. Oddly enough, the ones who make the effort (and that’s what is required…effort) to spend their time chasing actual bad guys and using the blunt instrument of the system to bring the pain to bad people who do bad things to the undeserving usually hate doing traffic pullovers for nonsense and would probably laugh their butt off at the cookie.

      As for the cops protecting you, when somebody’s busting into your house with bad intent you can rest assured that the cops aren’t going to get there until it’s too late to do you and yours a lot of good. They might as well be armed with cookies for all the good they’ll do.

      The sidearm on my hip isn’t there for me to ride to your rescue, really. It’s there primarily so I can protect myself. On rare occasion I might get there in time to use it on the dude who is trying to hurt you, but the vast majority of the time I’m going to get there maybe in time to call in an ambulance.

      If there’s an active shooter and he’s still active while you’re on the ground bleeding, I’m probably going to be stepping over you and leaving you there unassisted while I go look for the bad guy. You will probably find this puzzling, thinking I’m there to help you. I’m there to help “you” in the general sense, that I’m helping the public by finding the bad man and trying to make him stop. I’m not there to help *you* specifically, at least not until it’s been determined that the threat is over. If I’m a really squared away cop, I might have a small first aid kit on me that will stop bleeding that I can toss to a bystander to help you while I go hunt the bad guy.

      Police serve a general protective function for society. (So sayeth the Supreme Court) They aren’t there to bring you a good outcome and frequently will not arrive in time to do so, nor will they have the power to do so once they get there.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    .
    Don’t drive distracted. Put it on the driver’s exam as a question. Done.

    Must there be a law for every possible activity which might cause a distraction? What’s next: pull over before adjusting your climate control or you may get a ticket…
    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      I think most of us can run the HVAC/Change the radio station/sip cofeee or pop without any difficulties. What gets everyone hot under the collar is when someone who swims in the shallow end of the gene pool starts texting and slows down to 30 and back up to 60 in a few miles. How can you can tell they’re texting? Head down, speed down; head up speed up. Why is this so bad? There is one dedicated section and one section I prefer to stay in the left lane on the George Washington Parkway in Northern VA. Do I know or really care what our shallow end of the gene pooling swimmer is texting about? I don’t give a damn. I’d just wish they’d pay attention and drive. Thank you, I feel better now

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        That is how you tell. I usually set the cruise control at 70 when driving from DC to Ohio. I’ll see a car fly by me at 85, and a few minutes later I’ll fly by it at 70. A few minutes later, it will fly past me again. Why? The driver’s paying attention to a cell phone, and not his speed.

        Happens numerous times with different vehicles, every time I make that trip.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      “Driver’s exam”? Funny, a couple years ago, there was a news item about people who flunked the exam on the first try and were given a driver’s handbook to study while they waited to be re-tested. The people there were grousing about it, with one quoted saying, “I don’t have time for this. Just give me my damn license!” That was a teacher!

  • avatar
    05lgt

    If it were a secondary offense I’d be all in support. You were driving in an unsafe manner, so I pulled you over. I see you were on the phone, that’s an additional citation. All good.

    The NSA forwarded info that your phone was traveling in excess of the speed limit while in use. We ran your name against vehicle registration records and our plate scanner database and had you pulled over. All bad.

  • avatar
    kkt

    For an encore, try making a pistol-shaped hunk of metal and carrying it onto an airplane. All good fun, right?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      My kids have Airsoft guns (the ones with the orange tips that shoot 6 mm plastic pellets by spring force at maybe 400 fps).

      I have strictly warned them not to carry them through the neighborhood streets, or else some do-gooder could shoot them with a real gun:
      http://nation.time.com/2013/10/25/toy-guns-deadly-consequences/

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Better yet, bake gun shaped cookies and put them in your kids lunch to take to school. Oh yeah.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Well, considering a first grader got suspended for biting his pop tart into the shape of a gun, putting a gun shaped cookie in your kid’s lunch will guarantee your kid will be home with you for awhile.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        I’ve actually had that argument before. I ended it by telling the nitwits who wanted a school production of Oklahoma not to have any toy guns in it because “NO WEAPONS!!!” to point a loaded Glock at one foot and one of the toy props at the other and pull both triggers. Then get back to me on which one is the weapon.

  • avatar
    JK43123

    “Were the United States still a nation of people who cared about individual liberty, rather than a spiral walkway delivering human cattle to the abattoir of unemployment and welfare dependence while entertaining them along the way with DRM-restricted electro-pap and pornography, every mother in the country would be baking these for her husband and children tomorrow morning.”

    This has to be, without a doubt, the best thing I have seen written in years!

    John

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    Simple solution. Mandate that all cars have Bluetooth and all phones likewise. Problem solved. Thank you.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Well, our 2012 Sonata Limited likes to decide when it does and does not want to interface with my iPhone via Bluetooth (in fact, the pre-2014 Sonata’s entire navigation/infotainment system is quite glitchy), so it’s not an end-all solution. Furthermore, conducting a conversation at all requires some attention to be taken off of the task of driving…

      As far as this prank goes, it’s both pointless and a waste of officers’ time. I wouldn’t blame an officer for being miffed after stopping someone for this kind of stupidity.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      If I had a dollar for every time I was following a car driving sort of erratically (absent-mindedly wandering through it’s lane, no consistent speed, haphazard lines through turns), a car I know for certain is equipped with Bluetooth, just to pull along side and see the driver with the phone a foot from their face (like Cookie Monster up top), I’d have a pretty decent downpayment on something new with Bluetooth for myself. Bluetooth that I suppose I’d be obligated to never use.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      No, even THAT is illegal in some places. Simpler solution: NEVER vote for any incumbents, and demand that all candidates pledge to repeal at least fifty laws a day while in office. To hell with more mandates.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Frankly I find it absolutely idiotic how police agencies are cracking down on distracted driving all the while car companies work like heck implementing phone jacks, usbs, fancy infotainment systems, and those fancy digital gauges.

    Otherwise I have a disdain for how people drive these days be it with phones or with a huge German Shepard in the back, its not the tools so much as we all think that we’re super multi-taskers or something.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Good article Jack.

    Maybe cops should find bigger fish to fry then screwing with people on phones? Here’s a better one, maybe there shouldn’t be thousands of pointless federal, state, and local statutes, for police to enforce in the first place. What a concept. Perhaps laws by default should all have expiration dates in five years time and must be renominated? But how would we then keep the proles in line?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    In Washington under RCW the illegal act is holding a “wireless communication device up to your ear.”

    Under RCW, there is nothing in the provision that says that you have to be engaged in conversation, listening, or the device even being on. Under the law, you could be holding up a dead, smashed, batteryless “wireless communication device up to your ear,” and you are, by RCW breaking the law.

    Now if that wireless communication device is a HAM radio, or a CB radio – that’s OK (go figure). Also if you have a hearing aid, it’s OK to use the phone.

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=46.61.667

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    Nitpick: THis isn’t civil disobedience. I’d put it in the “prank” family.

    Civil Disobedience is deliberately *breaking the law*, with the intent of either being arrested or being ignored by the police, in full public view.

    The former uses the arrest and trial (or later release) to highlight the injustice of the law.

    The latter highlights that even the police don’t think it’s a law worth enforcing.

    I like this guy’s style, but what he’s doing just isn’t civil disobedience, since it’s not even breaking the law.

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    Sorry, Jack, but you’re wrong on this one. There is no such thing as a “victimless crime”- ask anyone who has been hit by a cellphone junky. For every “victimless” crime there are other folks affected: if you take heroin, your parents grieve your descent and eventual death. If you are an alcoholic, you wife and kids suffer, after you lose your job and move to the streets. If you street race, well, you kill yourself and maybe innocent bystanders. As for the old saw, “They should be out busting drug dealers”… cop ARE busting druggies… and pimps… and child molesters… but they ALSO have to catch speeders, reckless drivers, domestic assault suspects… Who is to say WHICH crime is more “important” than another? If YOUR car gets stolen, then, guess what? Car theft is the crime YOU are most concerned with (and recovering your classic ’57 Porsche Speedster, or whatever). Just my two cents.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      This.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      In principal I agree – but the injuries and fatalities attributed to cell phone and/or text use while driving does not align to the massive amount of resources being applied to “the problem.”

      Those resources could probably be better served on other issues. This isn’t to minimize the death/injuries caused by cell phone related distracted driving. But the number is very small when compared to DUI/DWI, gross speeding/negligent driving, etc.

      And really, seat belt and cell phone tickets have very little to do with public safety. They have a lot more to do with revenue enhancement.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I agree with both of you.

        However, as consumption of publicly-funded health care increases, the government will have a greater hand in declaring what is in the interest of public safety.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      umm yeah, because cops always get stolen cars back.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      If it’s such a threat to public safety, then cops should be prohibited from using cells behind the wheel, too, except in cases of emergency.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Yeahs, imagine that, people are forced to respect the lives of others while sharing the road privileges. As an avid no talker, I say ban all activities but…wait for it…driving!

    • 0 avatar
      barkway

      I’m with you, Stumpaster on that. People seem to think they should be free to do as they please when in their own car, totally forgetting they are sharing the road with thousands of others whose safety is jeopardized by their distracted driving. I remember when my Dad taught us to drive and he imparted on each of us that a car was not a toy, nor a right but a privilege, and that we should think of it as a 5000lb, moving death machine. Folks would do well to remember that.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        Here’s the problem, Mr. Barkway:

        You seem to have the impression that if we have enough laws that it will make people behave better on the road. It won’t. There aren’t enough police on the road to catch every moron who does stupid things behind the wheel, and the laws aren’t powerful enough to find the people who are causing the majority of the problems and force them off the road or hurt so bad that it causes a complete alteration in their behavior.

        This is the fundamental disconnect with reality. People seem to think that laws significantly alter behavior when I’m here to tell you from firsthand experience that they don’t, at least not in the way people think. They always picture these laws being used against a particular example of bad behavior they’ve encountered in their life but don’t actually live with application of those laws on a day to day basis. The truth is that the people they’d really like to hammer with these laws rarely get hit with them.

        People who are morons behind the wheel will be morons behind the wheel regardless of the laws. Someone who does not consider that the possibility of maiming or killing another human being with their SUV to be sufficient cause to pay attention to what in blue hell they are doing isn’t going to alter their behavior because they might get a ticket for a couple of hundred bucks.

        Someone who is so self-absorbed that they’re going to ignore how they’re handling a two-ton lethal weapon is not going to have their behavior altered by anything I can do to them short of allowing me to pull them over, beat the living daylights out of them, and maybe put a small caliber bullet in one of their major joints. I didn’t sign up to do that stuff, even though occasionally I may interact with someone who deserves such treatment. You really don’t want to live in a society where someone in my position has that power, either.

        The cell phone prohibitions will just give police another excuse to write tickets…tickets for behavior they engage in themselves all the time consequence free. It won’t stop the phenomenon, and it sure as hell won’t make people who are stupid behind the wheel be any less stupid.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          Hi carrya1911 – - –

          Distracted driving has a high probability of causing accidents;
          Those accidents often harm innocent people;
          Society has an obligation to protect the innocent;
          Police enforcement is needed to reduce distracted driving.

          This is not rocket science. In fact, it’s very simple.

          Attached below are links that show cell-phone usage in ALL advanced countries, EXCEPT the USA**, is banned, and punishable often by rather stiff fines and even jail time. It certainly would appear that enforcement was effective wherever it has been used: this is not a hypothetical matter.

          It’s about time we realized what true freedom really is. It is not automotive anarchy. It is not “every man for himself”. It IS all drivers respecting the rights and safety of other drivers. If the declining moral conditions and increasing self-absorption of drivers cannot guarantee that, then better laws and strict enforcement are inevitable.

          I should note that Germany (for example) has only 1/4 the fatality rate of the USA, WHILE having BOTH higher average road speeds and greater congestion. But German drivers don’t get distracted typically. Look how long it took for BMW even to agree to furnish cup holders in their cars destined for the USA.

          http://www.cellular-news.com/car_bans/
          http://seniortravel.about.com/od/travelsafety/qt/Distracted-Driving-Laws-In-Europe.htm

          ** Some states DO ban cell-phone use.

          ============

          • 0 avatar
            carrya1911

            Yes, Germany has higher speeds and lower fatalities. They also have superior training requirements to get a license and a significantly different culture which makes apples to apples comparison with US roads very difficult. We don’t do autobahn speeds in the US because to *us* that’s unsafe. It’s a cultural belief here in the states that speed = danger, and someone going “too fast” is a menace to society while someone who is reading a book while driving the speed limit isn’t.

            This is the point: Laws do not change culture. The idea is that if you pass the law and you strictly enforce it, then people’s behavior will change. In reality the law will not be enforced strictly because there simply aren’t enough police officers on the road with power to inflict severe enough consequences on motorists to actually have a hope of making a dent in the culture.

            Proof that the law will not be enforced strictly is readily available by going to the states which have these laws and watching cops on their cell phone behind the wheel.

            I’m not making a “freedom” argument here. I’m on the enforcement side of things telling you flat out that the vision people have in their head of these laws actually improving road safety just won’t happen.

            One of the reasons why we have so many accidents and fatalities is drunks behind the wheel. Drunk driving has been illegal for quite some time and the penalties are often very stiff. The standards for what constitutes being intoxicated behind the wheel are being screwed down further and further…and yet people still get behind the wheel hammered and drive and hurt people.

            They can be charged with what amounts to violent felony level offenses and serve significant prison time…and yet they still do it, and the courts still give them multiple bites at the apple despite piles of dead bodies and severely injured people that testify to the danger.

            In reality all cell phone laws are going to do is be another excuse to write a ticket and generate some revenue. It’s also a safe bet that a significant chunk of the people who get cited will be driving on a straight stretch of road with minimal traffic when it happens…in conditions where momentarily glancing at a cell phone isn’t going to pose a real threat to anyone.

            And none of that even figures into the growing problem of unlicensed drivers on our roads. The Germans might lock somebody up for quite a long time if they’re caught driving without a license. We don’t.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Hi again carrya1911 – - –

            Well, I guess I’m going to have “stand corrected” and agree with you on one very important observation you made: practicality of enforcement.

            Our local police simply don’t bother with minor driving infractions.
            Hell, they don’t even bother with relatively major ones!

            Why? They can’t.

            I took a 10-week Civilian Police Academy course here in my home city.
            One of things we unearthed (if that’s the term) is the fact that, for legal purposes, police officers have to spend about 2-hours every day filling out time/incident reports.

            We have burdened our police with so much administrative detail, that our typically understaffed police departments can’t do their jobs properly. Budgets are just too tight: which may translate into (can’t believe I’m saying this), our local taxes are too low!
            Currently, they can only afford to go after gross violations, robberies, shootings, etc.

            So, yes, “no-cell-phone-while-driving” enforcement, within the present system, may be both ineffective and unable to change the driving culture.

            But that does not mean it should not be done.
            The carnage has got to be stopped somehow.

            Any ideas?

            ———————————

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    This is hysterical…if I was 12. Way to stick it to the man!

    I’m one of those folks who swerves a little when I see people on a cell phone while driving. Just to raise their level of awareness that I’m there.

    It’s strictly out of jealousy because I won’t/can’t talk on the phone when I’m driving.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The thing to remember is, the people in office who pass law after law to regulate human behavior without thinking them over are a particularly self-important lot, and the best way to bring them down to earth is to ridicule them.

  • avatar
    mcs

    If those cookies test positive for trans-fats, they’ll throw the book at him.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    So let’s say you are singing along to that tune you know you can sing better than anyone else (even the orig artist).. This looks like talking so, guilty? And.. is it distracted driving? i would have to say, yes. Anything can be. So.

    What next?

    Remove all radios, GPS and other doo dads. Let’s return to spartan, radio delete interiors and cold-war era styling. Better yet, let’s install retina scanners in every car to watch the driver’s eyes. If they stray for more than a certain amount of time, then we can email-home and auto-notify any and all infractions. What a revenue generator that could be, ay? Ahh, America.. and they said it would never happen here!!! Doubting Thomases..

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    For those putting their hopes in enforcement to enhance safety on the road, please read the “Affluenza” post just above this one.

    *That’s* how our system works.

  • avatar
    CarGal

    There is a update to Mr. Lidtke little prank.

    It seems he decided to play with a cop when he spotted one and used his cookie phone, took a bite like he said he would, cop went back to his car….and found our Mr. Lidtke had some unpaid parking tickets.

    He isn’t going to be doing that again.

    Moral of the story; If you’re going to prank the police, make sure your record is clean.

    http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/comedian-unsurprisingly-regrets-pranking-cops-iphone-shaped-cookies-172900407.html


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