Texting Stopped at a Red Light

Texting While DrivingIntersections can be dangerous places both because it is a place of high crash risk, but also because it can be a place with a significant risk for being ticketed. Traffic police have become creative when working at intersections as related in the article Beware the Flower Clown and Other Roadside Characters. Last week's character held a Happy Valentine's Day sign and was watching for drivers texting at the red light.

Almost 80 drivers stopped at the red light, grabbed their cell phones and started to text. Almost 80 drivers were flagged out of traffic and ticketed for doing so in the few hours that the operation lasted. It was much too easy to catch offenders said the officers who operated the check.

Did these people think that it was OK to text as long as their vehicles were not moving? Clearly their attention was drawn to the phone as it is no secret that police use this tactic and the character with the sign was in plain view. If they had paid proper attention to the driving task they would have been able to identify the threat and avoid the ticket!

Just in case you missed it, "use" includes simply holding the device in a position in which it may be used and this is illegal when you are driving or operating a motor vehicle on a highway. When you are the driver, sitting in your vehicle waiting at a red light is operating a motor vehicle on a highway.

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I don't text and have had this feature disabled on my phone but I do, from time to time, pull my phone out at a red light just to check the time as I don't wear a watch.  Is this also illegal as I also carry a pocket watch on occaission and use it to check the time when I carry it, both are similar actions?

I don't pick up my phone at a red light, stop sign, while stuck in traffic, etc. - I know it's illegal.  But I disagree with the wide ranging nature of this law.

I used to keep a paper map book in my car, and if I was driving somewhere unfamiliar I would turn it to the relevant page(s) and check it at red lights.  Now I use my smartphone to look up driving/walking/bus routes - it's always with me, there's no more flipping pages, and it keeps track of where I am by GPS.  But I'm not allowed to pick up my phone and look at the map at the red light.  Instead, if I'm uncertain, I have to find a place to pull over, look at the phone, then re-enter the road, and (sadly all too often - my sense of direction is pretty bad) maybe turn around or take a different route because I missed my turn.  I'm thinking this process is less safe overall than looking at my phone for 5 seconds while stopped would have been.

I'll probably just go back to the paper map book.

Regardless of the distraction involved, one always has the ability to choose the safest method of consultation over the most convenient method. This law likely came about because of the number of drivers who were unable or unwilling to make the right choice. To some extent everyone gets to pay for their foolishness.

Here is a thought while at a red light and you look down at your phone/map/watch,,whatever it is,,now imagine a dog or small child has come in front of you,but you missed that part,you were too busy doing somthing other than what you are suposed to be doing,,,,DRIVING...And don,t get me wrong,,the same thing could happen if you were paying attention,you just may have missed through no fault of your own.

But here is the thing now,,If you were paying attention you would feel guilty,,  If you were doing somthing other than driving/paying attention,,Now You Have to LIVE WITH YOURSELF,,always WONDERING,,,,If I  had only paid attention......

Whatever your excuse,map,gps,save time,bad sence of direction,,,will never bring back to life what you have killed.


Taxi driver, if there's a kid or a dog anywhere near the road, you'd better believe I keep an eye on them, whether we're in motion or stopped!

That got me thinking though... I think what I find annoying about this law is actually that it seems to be inconsistent: looking at an electronic device is considered more of a distraction than anything else you could be doing in the car.  We already had a law against driving without "due care and attention" which seems to allow a more logical interpretation of what level of attention is needed during different parts of driving.  Just like I wouldn't dig through the glove compartment or fiddle with the radio while the car is moving, I wouldn't use my cell phone at that time either.  Would I get a ticket if I was stopped at a red light and tuning the radio?  Isn't that just as distracting at looking at a cell phone?

DriveSmartBC - what I was aiming at with my original comment was that I feel looking at a map on the cell phone is safer precisely because it's more convenient.  It knows where I am, draws the route, and updates the map for me.  Because of that, one quick glance is enough to realize that yes, I turn right at the next intersection.  

Well, I'm not going to break the law and I don't imagine that they're going to change it anytime soon.  :D  Talking about this with a friend, she suggested I look into a heads-up holder for the phone so I can see the map on the phone without even looking down from the dash, so I'm going to research that this weekend.  There we go, technology making us safer again.

But out of no where,,,,,on a low rider bicycle,,,,,or skate board,,skates,,roller blades,,or just plain running from somewhere.

Of Course you would pay attention if they were already there,,You just can,t tell me though that out of no where something or someone could come fast,and not paying attention could be the difference.

Sleep well should it ever happen,,,,,,now I have made you think.


So, this hypothetical really short kid leaps out from behind a bush, runs / skates / etc in front of the car during a red light without my peripheral vision catching the motion, and then stays there while the light goes green (maybe they fall over)?  This feels a bit contrived, but let's run with it... why would this be worse if it happened because I was looking at a map on my phone than if, say, I was looking out the other side of the car because someone drove by in a Ferrari?  I think at this point you're arguing that we should never look away from the road for a second even if we're stopped at a red light - is that right?

If that's the case... is the cell phone law just a convenient way of singling out the most common reason people look away from the road these days, because "due care and attention" is too vague a definition?

Can you even say that your peripheral vision would pick this up if you are looking DOWN?

And Yes I am saying to PAY ATTENTION as much as humanly possible behind the wheel,,to your surroundings,,To Not take your Concentration off of the Job of driving,,From point A all the way to point B. Not for ANYTHING.

If you find yourself lost,,well yes I am saying pull off the road somewhere safe,,figure out how to get there,and then start driving again.I drove Longhaul Semi for 9 years,If I missed my street or exit it could cost me from Blocks to Miles to safely fix my mistake and get turned around Safely,not to mention all the Extra time I have now spent,and YES I would rather do all that than take my Concentration off the Job of Driving,, for 1,2,or 3 seconds.

I learned soon to stop before I got myself too close to the new destination I had Never been before,,and then look at map,or phone for directions (Both if possable) to make it clear in my mind where I had to go as so Now I could keep my Concentration on Driving.

If you glance over at a Ferrari,,then maybe you will pick up the motion in your peripheral vision,,If you are looking Down I am affraid you just may miss, So The Differance is,,,Is I was looking up and around at my suroundings,with my main focus still on Driving,,,Where as You are Taking  your mind off Driving and Looking DOWN,away from the job of Driving,,,Even to look at that map to save you time is taking your mind away form the drive you are on.

And as far as Law goes,,I Never Mentioned Anything Yet,Due Care and Attention is up to each Idavidual,,I Choose to Pay 110% when I operating a Motor Vehicle,I realize I am a Human so I try to keep my full attention on each drive,,Knowing I can be distracted by many things,,and that is looking out the windows!   Also I have to keep in check Emotion,which alone can be Distracting. So Adding a cell phone,,a map,,or anything to take my mind of my job of Driving is Simply Unacceptable to me,I was not talking Law,,I was talking what is right and that I can wake up in the morning having no problem Living with Myself. The Law Just Leaves me alone because I don,t do all those things people nowadays are worried about getting a ticket over. Much more relaxing knowing you Can,t Get a Ticket in the First place if your not breaking a law as well.MY Choice.

And I don,t mean to be a smart allic in anyway shape or form,It is just after 2 million Kms logged in 9 years with 30 wheels on the ground,and that is where they stayed,,on the ground,,,with No Tickets,no Accidents in the last 25 years I have held a class 1 licence,,Trust me when I say,,,I am Still Learning and I know I will NEVER be Perfect and I will Always be a HUMAN,,,,Very Important To Remember operating Motor Vehicles. And hope that Hypothetical never becomes the reality that is possable.

There is unequal application of law when it comes to electronic devices.   Most modern cars have ample electronic gadgets on their dashboard (GPS, Music systems)   There is no difference between the dash board and the cell phone.  The police are targeting cell phones and their setting up at intersections.  Seems to me this is not an equal and honest way of enforcing the law.  Further, anyone with a GPS, who simply, presses the stop button at the intersection, has also broken the law.  However, we know the police are targetting cell phone and are probably targetting young people. This type of profiling is wrong.  

Are you able to justify the following:

However, we know the police are targetting cell phone and are probably targetting young people. This type of profiling is wrong.