Texting and Driving. Educate before Legislating.

As you know, some councilors on the city council are pushing to ‘make a statement’ about a texting and driving ordinance.

I will repeat this one more time. Texting and driving is stupid. But if certain councilors want to ‘make a statement’ about texting and driving, I suggest they put up their own money when the city gets sued over an unenforceable ordinance.

This is a state law issue, period.

The city has already lost in the SD Supreme court on code enforcement, red-light cameras and controlling VL casinos when it comes to city charter. They will lose AGAIN if they try to trump state law on texting and driving.

As a city councilor pointed out to me the other day, “Wouldn’t education make more sense?”

Ah, duh.

Educating drivers on the dangers of texting and driving far outweighs implementing an ordinance that 1) no one knows about and 2) the SFPD has basically said would be impossible to enforce.

So I challenge DaCola readers, come up with a billboard slogan that would get  driver’s attention on the dangers of texting and driving (the above graphic is my lame attempt.)

32 comments ↓

#1 Justin on 07.25.12 at 10:41 pm

I don’t think a billboard sign for the phenomenon insurance people call “distracted driving” is a good idea.

#2 Detroit Lewis on 07.25.12 at 11:26 pm

I’ll tell you about distracted driving and self control. I spilled hot coffee on my balls once while driving. I looked straight forward, concentrated on driving and yelled “FUCK” louder then I have ever in my life. It truly was a life changing experience.

#3 Craig on 07.25.12 at 11:27 pm

Agree with Justin, I was thinking the irony was pretty strong with that idea.

However if this law does get passed I’m going to laugh when an officer pulls someone over and claims they were texting when in reality they were just dialing a number. How will they draw the line to know what is what? Are they going to start getting warrants to check people’s phones? Yea that will end well. Just what we need – cops reading people’s text messages and viewing their private pictures and everything else on their phones as they try to determine what they were doing.

#4 Detroit Lewis on 07.25.12 at 11:34 pm

Big brother.

#5 Justin on 07.26.12 at 12:05 am

My last accident I was eating a Qdoba burrito and dropped it in my lap on 41st st, rearending somebody.

#6 Testor15 on 07.26.12 at 3:46 am

How do we do a citizen’s arrest of a cop when the cop is driving and typing on their computers. When you sit in your higher profile vehicle, glance over and what do you see? Many a police car view will reveal the distracted driver typing on the computer or playing with their phones.

This is a “Don’t do as I do, Do as I say” law just like so many the city likes to implement.

#7 Detroit Lewis on 07.26.12 at 7:52 am

Here is a prime example of why a texting ordinance is not needed;

http://www.argusleader.com/article/20120726/ARGUS911/307260029/Police-Hit-run-driver-texting-before-four-vehicle-accident?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Home

“following charges: Felony hit and run; four counts of hit and run; reckless driving; careless driving; no insurance; no seatbelt.”

The reckless driving law covers distracted driving.

#8 a cop on 07.26.12 at 8:37 am

DL- not to be nitpicky, but the carelsee driving covers the distracted driving. The reckless related to the speed and manner in which he was driving.

#9 l3wis on 07.26.12 at 8:43 am

Thanks for the clarification. But like you said, there is already laws in place that prohibit this activity.

Not sure if you want to comment, but as a PO, what are your thoughts on enforcement of this ordinance. Sounds like a PITA to me.

#10 Alice15 on 07.26.12 at 10:45 am

Put up a picture of the poor guy that is laying in a hospital bed at Avera from last and his motorcycle. That might work, but doubt it. People are extremely selfish to do this. Heads up people – you’re not that important.

#11 l3wis on 07.26.12 at 10:50 am

Alice, as you point out, education is the key. There is already laws in place to prosecute people for doing stupid things while being distracted by texting. The key is getting the message out to people. An animated video of this accident would probably get quite a few youtube hits.

#12 Pathloss on 07.26.12 at 11:55 am

Keep the city busy with unenforcable jargon and they’ll not have time to buy cameras, harass citizens, fund monkey crapers, or build suicide steps into the river. Stupid ordinance texting is not dangerous. It saves from foolish follies.

#13 Craig on 07.26.12 at 12:45 pm

If they are sincere if their desire to crack down on this, they need to mandate the use of hands-free devices rather than simply trying to determine who is texting versus who is reading their email, dialing a number, typing an address into their GPS, or playing Angry Birds.

California requires hands-free devices and they are very strict about enforcement. I know someone who got busted twice for violating it – he said the first time the fine was fairly small, but the second time they nailed him to the point it was cheaper for him to run out and buy a new bluetooth headset that he leaves in the car than it was to pay another fine.

Seems like that is an easier way to go rather than requiring officers to determine what someone was doing on their phone. Warrantless searches of personal property get ugly even with so-called probable cause, and eventually it will end up in a court battle over privacy rights and Fourth Amendment issues.

Either way I don’t think the city should be the governmental body pushing this. It should be on a state level.

#14 Distracted Driving on 07.26.12 at 1:56 pm

We all need to help raise awareness of the dangers that distracted driving has on the safety and well being of the community.

#15 l3wis on 07.26.12 at 2:22 pm

Craig – I would agree, they are opening themselves up for all kinds of legal problems.

#16 Justin on 07.26.12 at 2:59 pm

The reason you need a law isn’t for pulling people over its so when they kill somebody you have a reason to prosecute them.

#17 Sy on 07.26.12 at 3:07 pm

Recent tweet by the now incarcerated driver, who was doing 60, texting and had no insurance FWIW:

“When I leave the scene, yellow tape goes up. “

#18 Craig on 07.26.12 at 4:38 pm

Sy – that is rather ironic, but I like some of his other quotes:

“I’m so fucking high I could eat a star.”

“Never kill a woman, unless she a witness.”

“Bout to be a good day, get my licenses back and getting a job!”

And my personal favorite:

“Nothing like looking down texting and then stepping in dog shit.”

He appears to be a hard-core ballin’ thug yo! His twitter history makes we weep for America’s youth, along with his English teacher who obviously failed to instill in him the value of knowing the difference between “to” and “too” as well as “your” and “you’re”.

I also love the fact he takes pictures of all the alcohol he consumes along with a receipt (with his phone number) showing he paid for a party bus. Pretty amazing considering the idiot is only 20, but too bad he didn’t use a little of that hard-core ballin’ cash to pay for his damn car insurance.

Ten bucks says his tox screen comes back positive for weed, and if they walked a dog along the trail he ran (and through his car) I’d be shocked if they didn’t find anything.

I’d say he needs serious jail time, but he is the type who would get a jailhouse tat and brag about his time in “da’ big house with da’ thugs yo”.

#19 Craig on 07.26.12 at 4:50 pm

Update – turns out he was 21 so the earlier article that said he was 20 was incorrect.

The bad news… the motorcyclist has died. So now this idiot is on the hook for vehicular manslaughter. I hope he does serious prison time.

#20 sheep herder on 07.26.12 at 6:16 pm

Last winter had a Hutchinson County Sheriff’s car pull out in front of me on an intersection, in town (he had a stop sign and I had the right of way) and if I wouldn’t have stopped, I would have ran right into the driver door of the car. Guess what, he was talking on his cell phone. I imagine he didn’t even see me. Really irritated me and I wrote a letter to the Sheriffs office.

#21 sd-cpa on 07.26.12 at 7:58 pm

The driver from yesterday’s horrific wreck turned 21 today I believe. I stood in the Walgreen parking lot yesterday. The debris was spread from north of Kaladis to Jimmy John’s. No law would have adjusted his attitude of entitlement and screw you attitude. No more than extant legal statutes protected 3 kids from their father (River Falls WI July 10) or prevented a drunk driver from traveling east in the west-bound lane of I-94, killing a family of 4 and himself (Jamestown ND July 6). Despite the “ineffectiveness” of laws addressing homicide and intoxicated driving, they remain on the books. What we need is a law barring STUPIDITY but lacking success there maybe a specific law dealing with texting (the action that takes your eyes off the road) will at least cause some to think better before they ROTFLMAO

#22 Justin on 07.26.12 at 8:26 pm

One unmentioned comment: motorcycles are dangerous.

Use at operator’s caution.

With all the texting I would be scared to death to ride a bike around here. I guess it’s not as bad as riding between two lanes of gridlocked traffic like I’ve seen in most major cities.

#23 Detroit Lewis on 07.26.12 at 10:11 pm

You have to be a defensive driver while riding a motorcycle OR bicycle. I have ridden bicycles in SF for over 20 years on the streets. If you think motorists see you, you are a casualty waiting to happen.

As for texting, like I said above, there is already laws in place that address this issue. Trust me, the amount of jail time this person will receive wouldn’t be any different if there was a texting ordinance. Texting and driving is careless and reckless driving. We don’t need to compound it.

Remember when the county commission asked for an opt-out for 20 years so they can fund the state’s attorney’s office in an uptick in prosecutions? Why do you think that is? Too many damn laws that could be simplified, our court system has become a complete mess and we have to pay for it.

#24 Bond Perilous on 07.26.12 at 11:48 pm

Justin: To your point yes, but I don’t think a driver in a compact car would have fared much to better than Phil Sorensen. The shithead that hit him was going 60. The fatality rate for any accident over 30mph is exponentially higher. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I know I wouldn’t want to be behind the wheel of Fiat 500.

#25 Bond Perilous on 07.27.12 at 12:18 am

Can we just turn the phones off will we’re driving ppl? We’re not all that fucking important that we have glue the screens of our phones to the ends of our noses while driving. I silence my phone while driving. If someone calls or texts me, they have to wait until I’m available to communicate. And shocker!…it’s never been a big deal.

Unfortunately, it’s not until a tragedy like this that drivers begin to realize that they need PAY ATTENTION and quit dicking with phone, make up, dog, etc. AND STILL, some other asshole will follow up by doing something similar.

It very well may be an education problem, but I for one hope they stiffen the penelty for distracted driving. The SOB POS that did this needs to be made an example of.

I knew Phil. He was such a quality guy. Always positive. Always happy. The world needs more Phils and fewer distracted, self-important, speed-monkeys like the fuckwad that took Phil’s life.

#26 Lamb Chislic on 07.27.12 at 8:53 am

I agree that a texting law is an unenforceable waste of time and resources. It won’t stop accidents like this one from happening.

But, mark my words, Phil will become the poster child for this “feel good” ordinance.

I can already see the eyes watering as Councilor Erp gives an impassioned plea while choking on her words. MMM will end it with his usual “good job”, and the Council will vote 7-1 to “send a strong message to Pierre”. If Kermit stays consistent in his less-government approach, he’ll stand alone in casting the lone “no” vote on principle.

#27 OleSlewFoot on 07.27.12 at 9:22 am

The ordinance will make it illegal to touch any handheld device while driving, not just texting. Since research says that it is worse than drunk driving, the fine should be the same $400 and 1 year in jail. If they do that I will leave my phone off and in the back seat.
No on the dash GPS, no portable XM radio – well at least you can not adjust them while driving. The proposed ordinance is somewhere on the cities site. I read it a few weeks back.

#28 Pathloss on 07.27.12 at 10:52 am

If someone hits you and you end up in court, subpoena their cell phone bill. It’s the best way to win and probably the only way to enforce the state statute. Ignore the city ordinance. Their government is not recognized by the courts or the state.

#29 Sy on 07.27.12 at 11:36 am

Bond is 100% nuts-on correct.

I also knew Phil, but only for a short time. He was our new sales rep and on the job for a week and a half before this horrible accident. He was an extremely intelligent and talented guy who certainly made a positive impact at our company. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

RIP Phil.

#30 Detroit Lewis on 07.27.12 at 11:47 am

If anything, the person who hit Phil should be the ‘poster child’ for careless and reckless driving. They have plenty to put this guy away for a very long time, even if Phil would have survived.

A separate issue I would like to bring up is helmet safety. The PD say they found Phil’s helmet on the scene, but did not know if he was wearing it. I encourage anyone who rides motorcycle to wear a helmet.

#31 Detroit Lewis on 07.27.12 at 11:47 am

If anything, the person who hit Phil should be the ‘poster child’ for careless and reckless driving. They have plenty to put this guy away for a very long time, even if Phil would have survived.

A separate issue I would like to bring up is helmet safety. The PD say they found Phil’s helmet on the scene, but did not know if he was wearing it. I encourage anyone who rides motorcycle to wear a helmet.

#32 John on 07.28.12 at 11:41 am

The only law we need a real harsh felony for “accidental murder”. When fools kill people as a result of at fault “accidents” (better called “on-purposidents”) because there is nothing “accidental” about them – then the fool should face the same charges and prison as who committed a cold blooded murder. We make it way, way, way too easy to get away with in any other context is cold blooded murder.

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