Man gets $300 ticket for using phone while driving, but argues the phone was actually a McDonald's hash brown

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I was recently sitting in the traffic court with my daughter who was there for her own issues…at least a dozen of the people who stood before the judge were victims of the recent “hands free” law in our state.

The various defenses were the usual laughable excuses “I’m not from this state, I didn’t know” to “I don’t even own a cell phone”. But one that got me thinking was a young lady said “I wasn’t talking on my phone. I stream my music from my phone through to my car via blue tooth, I changed the station I was listening to.”

This got me thinking…people are allowed to change the station on their car radio, would changing the station or what have you on the phone be any different? There is a definite cross road here where some older car tech is not completely compatible with the latest features (like car play for example).


I scratched an itch on my chin with a comb while driving. Got pulled over by a cop waiting at the town limits and ticketed for talking on a cell phone. I even showed the cop my phone logs to prove I wasn’t on the phone. He claimed people carried second phones with them to show cops. :frowning:


Therin lies the rub… And the stupidity of the law.


Traffic court is synonymous with kangaroo court. Proof of innocence is not adequate. It is just an extortion racket.


I’ve been pulled over at least twice because an officer saw something he couldn’t have, because it didn’t exist, but I was thwarted because, as far as the courts are concerned, whatever training the police get automatically makes their visual acuity superior to mine, verging on superhuman. I hope this guy is victorious, but I doubt his chances.


Considering the car radio is designed for minimal input from a driver. On the phone you may have to unlock the phone, find the app, the right menu button on the touch screen, and most likely a submenu on that. Yes quite different.


Is eating considered distracted driving?


Can’t you just tell Siri or whatever robot lives in your phone to do it?

This whole thing reminds me of a radio lab (I think it was anyway) where they talked about how being on the phone, hands free or not is nearly equally distracting, whereas talking to someone in the seat next to you isn’t remotely.


Hell, I have had cops check me out because I had my hand hovering over the gearshift. They were beside be at the light, and he craned all the way up in his seat (which is itself a driving hazard) to get a peek at what I was doing. All this despite the fact that I clearly wasn’t looking down, but watching the lights.

Fortunately, he didn’t decide to ticket me. He did, however, drop right back down ito his seat when he realised I saw him. I guess I sufficiently demonstrated that I was aware of my surroundings.


So you’re saying my phone’s hash-brown disguise isn’t going to work?



cause the person is the seat next to you is also paying attention to the road and knows when to stop talking, or say hey hit the brakes.


IIRC there’s some state (apparently not Michigan) who passed an “anti texting” law - which was completely toothless since someone could argue they were not texting but any myriad of phone activities, so unless the cop was directly beside them looking at the screen they couldn’t do anything

It can be. Long before cell phone specific laws were enacted, states had generic distracted driving laws that could be applied any driving that was distracted. And many accidents are caused by people spilling food or drink while eating and attempting to mitigate the spill while driving.


Is it illegal to use your phone while stationary?

I think that was a part but the interesting stuff had to do with spatial relations in the drivers brain, but I’d have to hunt it down again and relisten to remember exactly



my passengers, let me show u them


Not necessarily, but that could be the process for someone.

On my phone, I keep both Pandora and Podcast apps right on the front screen, and I can unlock my phone with just a touch of my finger. If I am playing Pandora, I can change stations from my car’s interface, but its no more distracting on my pone than changing the car radio’s station…just tap to go to next channel. So I do not agree that because it is a phone app it therefore is not simple and minimally distracting. Both android and iOS are designed to be simple quick taps and swipes and no more.

To @wait_really 's point modern phones (unlike older cars that do not have steering wheel controls or voice controls) can be operating with voice only. So there is some additional “less distraction” features there too.

I am not in agreement with @stinkinbadgers that the hands free law is stupid. I personally was hit by a 19 yr old girl who was on her cell phone. I was sent flying 15ft in the air and luckily walked away with my perosn relatively in tact (limping and covered in blood, but at least alive). So the law is not STUPID tyvm. It just is not a simple b&w scenario .

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It can be, depending on the jurisdiction and what you’re eating. It’s one of those things that falls under the discretion of the individual issuing the ticket (or not). A coffee in a travel mug might not get you busted where instant noodles (especially if you’re using utensils) might.

In other words, it’s not a great defense to say: “No, I wasn’t doing distracted Thing A, I was totally doing potentially distracting Thing B.”