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home : opinion : letters April 30, 2016

11/20/2013 6:00:00 AM
Letter: DPS overstepping on text crackdown

So basically, the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) is making their own law because they are mad that the state Legislature has repeatedly shot down such laws ["Arizona DPS promises crackdown on texting drivers," Nov. 12].

Is texting while driving really that much different from, say, operating the mobile data terminal inside a DPS cruiser? I highly doubt they pull over to run plates.

There are already laws against the various offenses people commit while driving with undue attention to the road: crossing lines, driving too fast or slow, blowing stop signs, etc. We do not need more laws or state troopers making up their own laws. Reapplying "unsafe speed" laws to texting while driving is manufacturing their own laws. We do not need any more laws ... period!

Ray Handy


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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

"And if you got seriously hurt because the police refused to help you, you'd probably be the first one to file a lawsuit against them."

After I gave you the name of the case you still manage to make yourself look foolish. The court determined the person could NOT sue the police dept for failing to protect them.

And because of that case, if you sue the cops for showing up too late, or not at all. You will lose.

"Police have a moral and civic duty to protect the public."

Yeah they have proved that at school shootings where they stay safe outside crouched behind their cars until the shooting is over.

Legally, if they do not carry out what you say is their "moral and civic duty", they cannot be punished.

Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Article comment by: J L

I believe whole heartedly that folks are contributing to fatal accidents when texting and driving. No doubt. But DPS has no authority to arrest someone on merely texting and driving if there is no law to back it up, no matter how we or DPS feel about the situation. DPS will and I mean definitely will be hit hard with civil right law suits for using another law to cite a driver for something else. Texting while driving is playing Russian roulette but the frustration should be on the State Legislature for not making texting illegal while behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Article comment by: Nikki B

It is clear from the original article that DPS is using one law to circumvent the fact that there is no law to prevent texting and driving in Arizona.

While I agree with DPS that texting and driving is dangerous and would like to see a law against it, that hasn't happened yet...and DPS is over stepping it's role by going around the legislature.

Any good attorney will rip these "violations" apart in a courtroom and all the people of Arizona will pay millions for trials and award payments.

Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Conner


I normally agree with you on most (if not all) issues but I think you are really out of line on this one. There is no way we should allow the police to enforce laws that do not exist, that is not their job and it most certainly presents a danger to our civil rights. You really need to think about this one, it is not the same as a school saying you can't wear hats indoors.

While I agree that driving while texting is bad, there is NO law on the books in AZ saying it is illegal. I also think driving while being really old is dangerous, also not a law and l am sure a lot of our local citizens appreciate that.

Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Article comment by: pl .....

@what the....it's called an articulable premise for demanding one's ID. If the cop sees something illegal or something which he could articulate in a court of law to likely be associated with a crime, he can ask your ID. This does NOT include vague references to crimes which may have been committed in the past wherever you are being contacted. And don't even insult me with that old dog, "we've received an anonymous tip that someone matching your description...blah blah blah". Regarding driving, a careful reading of the Constitution and the manner in which a driver license is issued - your name in all capital letters, for instance - constitutes a contract which you are not obligated to accept in order to travel on a non-commerical basis. The states - like Arizona - have insulted us all by revising the statutes to include you, but they did so illegally in most cases, as I previously wrote (gee, you could make a comparison to Obama, who makes up the law as he goes along). My advice and my intention is to carry the appropriate documentation in the car, then sue them up and down the food chain in event of any citation, because it is illegal, and they know it.

Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Article comment by: What the??

@ pl

"(you have absolutely no obligation whatsoever to show them ID or even engage in conversation with a cop under most circumstances)."

This is absolutely WRONG information.
Actually in a way its not an obligation to show an ID to a cop when the cop asks, IF its just over simple conversation but if you dont then it arises suspicions. However, if you are contacted for things other than simple conversation, such as being pulled over, etc then yes it IS your obligation to present an ID to a cop when asked by them. If you refuse to show an ID and they start feeling suspicous about you then they CAN, by law, take you to jail, fingerprint you and book you for up to 72 hours(time period depends on the State) in order to find out who you are. Thats why its better just to show an ID, if you have one.
However, when it comes to other people that are not an authority, then there is no obligation to present an ID. I know this since i have law enforcement in my background.

Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Article comment by: R H

@Lori-Hyphenated . How do you go from limiting law enforcement to only enforcing ACTUAL LAWS to firing every cop and going without ?. That kind of leap would span the Grand Canyon many times over. The purpose of the legislature is to PASS or NOT PASS laws which cops enforce. The legislature has NOT PASSED the law you want them to enforce. Imagine if a given law enforcement agency decided on their own to arrest Obama fans without any basis in law ?. The fact that even IF such a law were passed it would be unconstitutional is moot because the cops would be enforcing something that never passed the legislature. The cops just took it upon themselves to do it in the name of 'public safety' and threw your goofy butt in jail. Would you support the enforcement of illegitimate laws THEN ?. Seriously ....think about this stuff before you go off on a rant.
BTW ...The fact that cops are not required to protect you IS , unfortunately , true . They don't have to ignore a call for service to effectively fail at their mission through no fault of their own. The sad fact is , when seconds count , cops are minutes away.

Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Article comment by: Lori Gabriel-Dane


'I see. So, since the police don't have to Constitutionally protect anyone, if you called them because of an emergency situation, they have the right to refuse you their help. And if you got seriously hurt because the police refused to help you, you'd probably be the first one to file a lawsuit against them.

Gee, I wonder why policemen die trying to protect citizens if they really don't have to. Shame on them for trying to help.

Police have a moral and civic duty to protect the public. That is what motivates them to put their lives in danger every single day. They don't need it written into the Constitution to make them do what's right and do whatever they can to protect the citizens of this country.

What you're basically saying is that we don't need police, right? Oh yeah, wouldn't this be a wonderful place to live without the police? Drug dealers and prostitutes on every street corner, robberies galore, speeding up and down Stockton Hill Road, neighbors shooting neighbors, because the police don't have to protect anyone... Constitutionally.

Common sense, my boy. Try it sometime.

Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Article comment by: if you are pulled over .....

remember the term "Arizona REVISED statutes". If a statute was revised without being re-written entirely and re-submitted through the state legislature, it is invalid. The citation is illegal, and since they know it's illegal, it is the basis for a lawsuit. This is another case of the government making up the law as they go along.

Posted: Saturday, November 30, 2013
Article comment by: pl .....

"The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But we don't ask for their love.....only for their fear". --- Heinrich Himmler. I think it is the mission of citizens in a republic to diffuse the tendency towards megalomania as much as possible. Allowing DPS to write their own laws, in addition to being utterly illegal as others here point out, is unwise in principle, as well. Law enforcement already ritually abuses approaches to the citizenry (you have absolutely no obligation whatsoever to show them ID or even engage in conversation with a cop under most circumstances). Much more to say, but when space is limited, why not mention one of recent history's more egregious cases?

Posted: Friday, November 29, 2013
Article comment by: R H

Yes , you're damned right I am VERY serious. I honestly do not CARE what the policy is and whether cops follow it or not. The fact is they are not held to the same standard , they cannot be pulled over and cited for the same behaviors that those of us without a badge are , and they never will be (because of attitudes like yours). The plain fact of the matter is that this is something that should be , and HAS BEEN , decided upon by the legislature . The legislature is the party that makes laws , NOT DPS . The legislature ***HAS DECIDED AGAINST*** making this behavior worthy of yet another intrusion by law enforcement.
END OF STORY !!!! If you want the legislature to make this a law , keep up your whining and before long we will be living in California East.
Just because you agree with YET ANOTHER IDIOTIC LAW does not mean that the rest of us will sit idly by while bad law is enacted by decree .

Posted: Friday, November 29, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

"I have nothing to fear from the police. Why do you?"

Using your logic, the police can do whatever they wish and anyone who questions it must be hiding something. I'm sure there are many past regimes yu would have fit well in. The old USSR, Hitlers Germany......Just to name a few.

"They are here to protect all of us."

The Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that the police do not have a Constitutional duty to protect anyone.

Castle Rock v. Gonzales

And like so may other things, that you are totally unaware of that fact comes as no big surprise

Posted: Thursday, November 28, 2013
Article comment by: What the??

Are you SERIOUS??? Texting while driving SHOULD NOT be allowed. Ive seen way too many accidents caused by people texting while driving. As for the police using a computer while driving, i very well doubt that. They actually dont operate that PC while driving. Mainly all they MIGHT be doing is looking over at something that the dispatchers sent to the screen such as a BOLO or ATL or something and they are far more advanced in driver training than most people out there thats texting.
Alot of cops will just call in a plate while following someone then the dispatcher sends the info they need over the computer screen in the cruiser and then the cop can decide what kind of a 'stop' to make on the car hes following, IF any stops are needed.. Doing this saves precious airtime on radios.

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Article comment by: R H

So you really do not think there is anything wrong with government agencies making their own laws ?. I can see why you love ObamaCare so much. You have absolutely ZERO problem with tyranny . If *THE POLICE* tell you to do something , are you so timid that you just obey their commands because you don't know what's good for you and trust their judgement ?. Or is it because you happen to agree with the particular tyranny being perpetrated and see no problem with superseding the legislature to achieve it ?. If you want government treating you like a child , YOU should move to California , which at least bothered to get their legislature to make it into a law before trying to enforce it. This law has FAILED in the AZ legislature many times and DPS should take that as a clue , not a dare.

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Article comment by: Lori Gabriel-Dane

[Comment exceeded word limit.]

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

"just like schools, businesses, etc. set their own rules, why not the DPS"

Lori, you have made many comments with which I disagree, and the above is no exception. However, the above comment is also one of the most frightening suggestions I have read in the comment section of the KDM.

You have suggested that the citizens of AZ give an agency, that already has the power to detain, arrest, and fine citizens, the additional power to arbitrarily determine what behaviors will justify the lawful detention, arrest, and imposition of fines.

This goes against the separation of powers and balances and checks that our free society is founded upon.

Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Article comment by: Lori Gabriel-Dane

R H, just like schools, businesses, etc. set their own rules, why not the DPS? If I know that it's a law, rule, regulation, whatever you want to call it, not to do something, believe me, I won't be doing it. If the DPS, which is a law enforcement agency, knows that texting while driving is dangerous and, if legislators won't correct this problem, then it should be up to DPS to set the rule. That's their job - PUBLIC SAFETY.

Even if you have a broken tail light, the police have a right, and duty, to pull you over because that presents a danger to others on the road. So, if they know that texting is dangerous, and they see you doing it, the police know that this presents an even greater danger to others on the road.

I have nothing to fear from the police. Why do you? They are here to protect all of us. If they spot someone texting while driving, that driver should be stopped BEFORE he/she kills someone. If you're afraid of the police stopping you, the trick is - drive like your life depends on it and DON'T DO ANYTHING WRONG.

Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2013
Article comment by: R H

Lori , Are you actually in favor of having the state police write and enforce their own laws simply because you happen to agree with it ?. That is a VERY dangerous precedent. Whether or not you agree with texting and driving or the thought of giving law enforcement even MORE power to detain and search , you have to agree that the task of passing laws belongs to the legislature.
There are plenty of people on the road who are a hazard with no distractions whatsoever yet I do not want more laws passed simply to trade liberty of an illusion of safety. ENOUGH with these useless laws and the 'zero tolerance' mentality.

Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013
Article comment by: Lori Gabriel-Dane

Karma, it only takes missing one stop sign to kill someone in that intersection. And, if you happen to notice someone weaving all over the road because they're texting, missing a stop sign or a red light, you'd have to call the police on your cellphone to report it, thus, perhaps causing an accident, yourself. By the time the police caught up with whoever, it may be too late to save some unsuspecting driver caught in the crosshairs of that all-important text someone else just had to send.

If people can 'multitask,' that's great - let them concentrate on driving and chew gum at the same time. Distractions of any sort put drivers in danger. Some distractions cannot be helped. Texting while driving, however, is a distraction by choice.

Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013
Article comment by: R H

@gun owner : maybe you should be arrested for having a gun in the car because the cops thinks it's 'stupid'. Would THAT make you feel safe ?. It would make SOME people feel safer and if safety is to be traded for freedom , why not YOURS ?. Fact is , I don't text much but I sure as hell do not want cops having the power to say 'I saw him texting' and use that for a traffic stop , a search of my cellphone's inbox/outbox , or whatever they want to look for, As for it being 'department policy' , can they be pulled over for it ?. NO!.
@'doing research': This law is not about 17yr olds , it's about ADULTS who can be pulled over because DPS wants to make their own laws. Try some 'research' on who makes laws in this state and you will learn a new word : LEGISLATURE.

Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013
Article comment by: karma jones

I would have to say first that some people are multitascable. on the other hand if a driver is all over the road and missing stops signs or having trouble driving they should be pulled over. but if a person is obeying all the regular driving manners and soso laws to the best of their ablity let them be. thanks for your time on this announcement.

Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013
Article comment by: its a fact folks

excuse me....before all the "professors" chime in the distance in 5 seconds is 900 feet....not 1800. Still plenty of room to kill many families while you text OMG to your friends.

Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013
Article comment by: its a fact folks

At 60 mph your vehicle is traveling the distance of 3 football fields ...1800 feet every 5 seconds.

If you think a 5 second "text" is not a dangerous distraction....your an absolute fool. There is so much data to prove this is a very dangerous situation it would take a week to read it all.

Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013
Article comment by: Common Sense

Really?! We're arguing about texting not being that dangerous? That "minor traffic violation" could lead to a serious accident resulting in injury or even death. There is plenty of data to support the fact that texting while driving is dangerous. Hell, even AT&T sponsored the development of a short film to highlight the ramifications of such a "minor traffic violation".

Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013
Article comment by: Lori Gabriel-Dane

Ray, if one of your loved ones or a good friend was killed by a careless driver who was texting while operating their car, I'm sure you would repeatedly ask yourself why no one ever enforced a law to make it illegal to text and drive. Hopefully, this will never happen to you. But it happens to other people every day.

What could possibly be so important that people risk causing an accident because they have to text while driving? Is it worth taking your own life or the life of someone else? Cellphones are great for emergency use if your car breaks down or something. But if a person cannot drive without the need to text while doing so, they're putting other people's lives in jeopardy, as well as their own, and they need to be stopped.

According to cdc.gov, every day in the U.S., 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 injured because of cellphone use/texting while driving. That's about 3,000 people killed and almost 400,000 injured every year.

Ray, do you honestly believe we don't need to put a stop to this any way we can?

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