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Serious question: how does a police officer identify that someone is unduly distracted while driving? Would like to understand how that could work. Besides the cop seeing the driver looking at his/her phone, what are the other scenarios where a cop can give such a ticket? After the fact, sure, but that's a ticket for reckless driving and that should be the basis for the punishment. And not to be cynical, but what if a cop pulls you over and determines that well, you aren't drunk, but I think you were distracted -- here's your ticket. This is a very sad tragedy and I feel for these people. Pretty difficult issue to address though. I would be focusing all of my energy on education/awareness or even requirements to do intermittent driving school, but not on trying to formalize punishment for people who are distracted while driving -- just doesn't seem realistic. People need to understand not only specific things like "don't text while driving," but more general things like "you're driving around in a 1000 pound weapon -- respect the seriousness of that and don't drive it as if you were a twirling a gun on your finger."
It should be standard procedure during a traffic accident investigation to check the call history of the driver's mobile phone. Maybe it already is. This is one way to determine whether the driver was texting/distracted while driving, thus causing an accident.
Some police departments are asking for cell phones following a pullover. Directly asking if the person if they were talking or texting, then reviewing the time stamps that are in line with the driving observation. Weaving or sudden stops are typically not enough to warrant a pullover, but consistent looking down and more than one 'observed distraction event' is enough. In this tragic case, a phone was not the issue for the driver, it appears they reached for a napkin. I can say this, it takes just one deer to jump out while merely talking on the phone to begin the new habit of putting the phone in a bag in the back seat, out of reach. I like to call it "me time" now. Similar to time on the throne. And I am passing that habit to the kidos. I fear for that dreadful call this poor family had to go through. It will hopefully save their lives.
Sad story, but one of many when the grief from the tragedy is spread to a larger audience for change. As I'm sure many can join me with a story, I cannot count how many times there has almost been a collision because someone was distracted by their phone. Reminder: It is legal to use the phone function on your phone, but it is illegal in MN to text & drive.
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