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Ticketed for using cell phone while driving

Posts: 194
Estimable Member
Topic starter

My bad . . . I seem to get the stupidest traffic tickets. Today a bike cop at the Fish Market in Frederiksted spotted me with my cell phone to my ear. I was calling voicemail waiting for the call to actually go through before switching to speakerphone . . . I never even got that before.

In any case, ignorance is not an excuse so I made none . . . we can use cell phones without an earpiece in MD. So I get a ticket, crazy!

Problem is I have no idea what the fine is. The ticket gives me a court date and says if I plead guilt I can skip the hearing but they will advise me of the fine. Really! Are we talking $20, $50, $2,500? Makes a difference. Is it worth coming back in January? I wasn't planning on being back until Feb.

Posted : December 5, 2008 11:08 pm
Posts: 1085
Noble Member

call the police department!

Posted : December 6, 2008 12:03 am
Posts: 140
Estimable Member

I think it's 100.00 fine.

Posted : December 6, 2008 12:13 am
Posts: 199
Estimable Member

I was chatting away on my cell and drove past the police station in Christiansted a couple of weeks ago. About a 1/4 mile later I got pulled over. I was lucky and got a warning. It seems I was also guilty of another infraction. Although I had valid insurance, drivers license, and license sticker, I didn't have my registration. I had filed that away at home. It was my good luck to also got a warning about that.

Posted : December 6, 2008 12:42 am
Posts: 878
Prominent Member

Most itckets are usually only $25.00, but should call to verify.

Posted : December 6, 2008 1:40 am
Posts: 199
Estimable Member

Islandtyme, at $25 a pop that's like adding another service to your cell phone plan. Seems like a good deal to me....

Posted : December 6, 2008 1:47 am
Posts: 234
Estimable Member

I've seen our local cop, officer Chinnery in Charlotte Amalie pull people over for cell phone while driving. He says "pull over - dat gonna be $50". I believe they could (if they were not scared) shake down folks in my area at night who look like they have a gun and get many illegal guns off of the street. But I guess it's safer for them to give parking tickets and pull over people for cell phone use.
- congasan

Posted : December 6, 2008 11:56 am
Marty on STT
Posts: 1779
Noble Member

Check Page 203 of the VI Code, T.20 -Ch.43, Section 509 "Use of handheld (sic) mobile telephones while driving prohibited"
(a) Defintions. As used in this section, the following words or phrases have the meanings given to them in this subsection.
(1) "Engage in a call" means talking into or listening on a hand-held mobile telephone, but does not include holding a mobile telephone to activate, deactivate or initiate a function of such telephone (those italics are mine for emphasis...they are NOT in the VI Code)
(2) thru (5) are just definitions of other stuff...but:
(6) "Using" means holding a mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of the user's ear.

Officer Chinnery yelled for me to pull over by Vendor's Plaza even tho I had my earpiece in, and I was just changing my ringer to a new tone...he ticketed me anyway (now $50 for first offense), but then I went and looked up the law and photocopied it...now I'll be taking it with me into court on the tenth and having my ticket dismissed...

Posted : December 6, 2008 12:11 pm
Posts: 2707
Famed Member

last nov i got pulled over on stt because the cop thought i was using a cell,when i fact i was just leaning on my hand while driving,so he asked me why i was using a phone and i told him sorry not me,no phone i'm not a drug dealer or a parent so i have no need for a phone,lol he ended up confused and blind and i went on my way

Posted : December 6, 2008 12:29 pm
Posts: 878
Prominent Member

Wow, looks like I was wrong................$50 fine, not $25.......still not too bad.
The other day we witnessed a young driver texting with both hands, while balanced on top of the steering wheel..............going about 60 mph on the Queen Mary...............one day we'll read about that young chap in the Avis obits!
Never could master the whole talk while driving.............cell phone, stick shift, steering wheel, cig (before I quit)............too many gadgets, not enough hands.............so I gave up the cell & cigs!

Posted : December 6, 2008 1:03 pm
Posts: 1842
Noble Member

You have a great excuse to come back to the islands early.

Posted : December 6, 2008 1:18 pm
Posts: 3111
Famed Member

Now that's how you make lemonade, Lizard!

I believe in the no cell phone law. I see too many people putting ME in jeopardy, while they chat.

Posted : December 6, 2008 2:15 pm
Posts: 956
Prominent Member

I hate these laws, although not as much as the seatbelt laws, because they allow the police to pull over anyone for anything under the guise of "I thought he had a cell phone." This has happened to my friends, cop just wanted to mess with him so he pulled him for the cell phone thing. My friend had to show the officer his call logs to prove he just had his hand on his ear (his phone was in his pocket) and the officer still yelled at him like he was a child...good policing. This law mostly distracts LEO from what they should be focused on.

I'd much rather see the reckless driving laws enforced so that if someone is on the phone and is not driving in a safe manner they get the book thrown at them, with the fact that they were on the phone being a key piece of evidence against the reckless driver.


Posted : December 6, 2008 2:46 pm
Posts: 194
Estimable Member
Topic starter

Lizard . . . I did think of that BUT I don't think I can make that happen. I leave here Monday, go to Bermuda for work Wednesday-Friday. Next week work in NYC. Then home for Christmas. Then Las Vegas for New Year's. Crazy travel schedule.

I guess I will stop by the police station in Hannah's Rest and see what they say. I cannot read most of the ticket as the carbon copy I have is too faint to read. I can make out that it says I was "talking on cell phone while driving a vehicle" and that is not true so if I went to court I would have a tough time saying I was guilt of the charge . . . I am sure the judge would think I was being a smart a** though and probably give me the biggest fine he could.

If it's $50 I'll just pay it . . . unless I can get a postponement for February.

Posted : December 6, 2008 2:51 pm
Posts: 228
Estimable Member

SunorSki, nice life! How is Bermuda?

I too am tired of people driving dangerously while they talk/text on their cellphones. Unfortunately, because people can't use good sense, it ends up having to be another law.

Posted : December 6, 2008 3:24 pm
Posts: 106
Estimable Member

This is how it starts....

the parking ticket offender says to the cop..."why aren't you out ticketing the guy driving on his cell phone?"...
the cell phone user says to the cop..."why aren't you arresting the drunk driver I just saw go by?"....
the drunk driver says..."why aren't you arresting the burglars who broke into my house last week?"...
the burglar says..."why aren't you arresting the murderer from the paper?"....

Everyone making excuses, it never ends. Next time that cell phone driver kills a family of 4 because they weren't paying attention to the road, listen for the uproar from the public about the police not enforcing the cell phone law.

If you violate the law there are consequences (we learned a similar rule in kindergarten right?)

Posted : December 6, 2008 6:08 pm
A Davis
Posts: 687
Honorable Member

I have, on more than one occasion, had someone blow through a well-established red light as I approached an intersection, cell phone on blast, yakking away. One actually shrugged her shoulders and gave me an "I hope you understand" look as she went by.

Personally, I feel that it's not so much talking on the cellular phone but not having the use of both hands while driving AND being distracted at the same time.

It's possible to be totally distracted while driving, with or without a cellular phone at hand, too. Your mind can drift, I know mine does from time to time. Having a conversation with someone in the car, screaming your favorite song at the top of your lungs, listening to a book on tape. I think that the law addresses inattentive driving in the wrong way.

I comply and I have the headset, but I'm just sayin'.

Posted : December 6, 2008 7:44 pm
Posts: 194
Estimable Member
Topic starter

christineg . . . please tell me you are really not comparing my "crime" to murder. Jeez, in many states using a cell phone is actually legal. I am not saying I agree or it is safe but it is certainly not comparable to murder.

Marty, for what it's worth I found your text informative and made me think I may actually have a defense. Still if it"s 50 bucks I'll just pay it.

Sabrina . . . it may sound that way but traveling for work gets old. .. . it's part of my job and just my commute. Bermuda "looks" nice but I've only been there for work and have not really seen the real Bermuda or have had the chance to enjoy what vacationers might enjoy. I did ask on my first trip last February where the service people live _ there must be a "not so nice" side???? I never saw it. I have to travel a lot and it gets old or "normal: . . . most airports and hotels look the same.

Posted : December 6, 2008 10:07 pm
Posts: 1866
Noble Member

There isn't anyone I want to talk to badly enough that I can't wait until I have a land line.

Posted : December 6, 2008 10:12 pm
Posts: 1842
Noble Member

There is not to many payphones today and when you do find them, there broken. That's in the New York/New Jersey Metro area, I don't know about the rest of the country.

Posted : December 6, 2008 11:04 pm
Posts: 22
Eminent Member

My son in law was on way to pay ticket for being on cell phone while driving. He couldn't find the place to go, so he was calling to get directions. Long story, short, a policeman pulled him over and only gave him a verbal warning and let him go.

Posted : December 7, 2008 1:39 am
Posts: 2045
Noble Member

The only thing worse then talking on a cell phone when you are driving is the men who walk around with their little blue tooth in their ears all day. I understand what a great tool it is when your driving. And I say men because you will not find a woman wearing these ridiculous looking things in public. For some reason it makes some men feel cool. I'm hear to tell you Please take them out of your ear and use your phone when you're in public, it makes you look like a tool.

Posted : December 7, 2008 12:40 pm
Posts: 129
Estimable Member


when they (those ear thingys) first came out i saw all these people wandering around who were what i thought, talking to themselves....i said to myself they must have forgotten to take their medication...
on the other hand, here in states men and women use those attachments.
i find them to be ridiculous.
i rarely use a cell phone.
don't even like them.
i only have one because my dawta bought me one to use when i am traveling.
i do not overs how ones can text while driving.
it is frightening to me to say the least when i am on the road.

Sis Irijah

Posted : December 7, 2008 12:52 pm
Posts: 3919
Famed Member

Why is it so hard to pull over while making your call? I think this is one of the most dangerous things a person can do. I say hooray to the officers to give the tickets. When you're driving - DRIVE.

Posted : December 7, 2008 1:30 pm
A Davis
Posts: 687
Honorable Member

Dear Betty and Sistalrijah,

I so feel you! My older brother wears his all the time, I tell him he looks like an alien. One day he fell asleep and the thing fell out, and he said that he could feel that it was not there. I later found it crouching like a roach behind the sofa and returned it to him. He was relieved to get it back to re-attach. I was laughing!

I have blu-toof, but I only use it when driving, very rarely when walking about. Then, I just use the cell phone normally.

I consider my home phone my phone and the cellular is for my convenience, in case I need a phone or am expecting a callback on something important.

As you can imagine, I would often turn on my phone to make a call and find a number of messages there, so I modified my outgoing message to let people know that I don't live by my celly, just my homey!

Posted : December 7, 2008 1:31 pm
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