Home > Cell Phone Tickets, Traffic Tickets > How Officers Try to Confirm if a Driver is Texting Behind the Wheel

How Officers Try to Confirm if a Driver is Texting Behind the Wheel

How Officers Try to Confirm if a Driver is Texting Behind the Wheelblog submitted by ticketbust.com, helping drivers contest and dismiss their traffic tickets. 

Commissioner Joe Farrow of the California Highway Patrol speaks of the challenges officers face when trying to obtain visual confirmation that a driver is texting while driving.

The Huffingtonpost.com reported, in California, among other states, spotting a driver tapping on a cell phone isn’t enough to issue a ticket: Law enforcement officers must get visual confirmation that the driver is exchanging a digital message on his or her phone — all while they’re driving beside the suspected offender in a marked patrol car, Farrow explained.

“I have to pull up alongside of you, watch you, see you and testify in court that I saw you with your phone, texting or reading messages in the car,” Farrow said following the annual meeting of the Governors Highway Safety Association, a nonprofit organization that represents the nation’s highway safety offices. “We do write a significant number of citations, but it’s a bit more difficult than people think because we have to be able to testify in court that you were doing that, rather than just holding the device.”

California’s anti-texting law, which went into effect in 2009, prohibits drivers from writing, sending or reading “text-based communication” on any “electronic wireless communications device,” which makes it illegal to text, compose an email, share a photo on Instagram or “like” someone’s Facebook status while at the wheel.

Yet the law is narrow enough that it’s not technically illegal to look up a contact on one’s cellphone or pick a song on iTunes, meaning officers must see what a driver is doing on a smartphone before they can issue a citation. If they can’t see that the driver is messaging, their citation isn’t likely to hold up in court.

“Some people argue, ‘I wasn’t texting, I was just holding [the phone] in my hand,’” Farrow said. “I have to be able to convince a judge that I did see you [texting] within a reasonable doubt you were doing it.”   –  blog submitted by ticketbust.com, helping drivers contest and dismiss their traffic tickets. 

If you get cited for a red light photo ticket, contact us at www.TicketBust.com or call us at (800) 850-8038.  For Spanish, please visit www.Combatesuticket.com or call (818) 584-3689.  For more information on how TicketBust can help to beat your cell phone ticket, visit www.fightcellphonetickets.com or call (800) 850-8038.

This blog was written to provide information related to traffic tickets in California, is based on opinion only, is not legal advice, and is for informational purposes only. 

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