Should Citizens Use Phones to Report Traffic Violations?

Some communities will let private citizens upload pictures of traffic violations..what’s next?

source: attorneypaulhanson.com. A new spin on handheld phones!

Dear Ms. Smartphone: I read an article about people using smartphones to take pictures of traffic violations, and then forwarding these pictures to a city department that will issue tickets. Is everyone going to be reporting everyone else? Do you think this is a good use of our smartphones? Gregor, Marin City

Dear Gregor : In this case, the devil will be in the details. The NYT article reports that law enforcement officials in Washington, DC are considering this program because traffic fatalities and serious injuries have been on the rise since 2015. (Speculation here, but is this related to more distracted driving and cell phones?)

The article states that only Malibu, Ca. is doing citizen ticketing today. Local volunteers get 96+ hours of training with the LA County Sheriff’s Department. Meanwhile, many cities use ‘411′ type apps that let citizens upload photos of downed tree limbs, potholes, scooter violations, etc. The next step could be traffic violations. But this assumes that time stamps, geocoding, and levels of official review and appeals all support each other. It is a brave new world of smartphones.

Is Passenger Phone Safe to Answer?

Driver Distraction…Phones gone Bad.

Dear Ms. Smartphone: I noticed that you often take questions about drivers using phones. How about the case when a passenger uses their phone in the car, but someone else is driving them? Is this a safety issue or is it OK to do? TT, San Francisco

Dear TT: You question caught me off-guard, probably because I’ve seen all those movies where the hurried passenger in a taxi places call after call. Surprising, at least to me, it that it is not a good idea to make a call as a passenger. The literature says that overhearing only half of a conversation—a halfalogue”—is more distracting than other kinds of conversations because the listener misses the other side of the story. It’s serious: in the UK, passengers who take a phone call face a fine if they are training a new driver. Phones down. Thanks for elucidating me!

Should I Track Teen’s Driving?

Should I secretly install a device that can track my teen’s distracted driving?

Dear Ms. Smartphone: My car insurance offered me a “black box” to install in the car. It will report things like the speed, sudden braking, and whether I am using the phone. My teen shares this car with me. She seems to be a good driver and I wonder if I need to tell her about the box. Adrian, Boston

Dear Adrian: Readers may disagree but I think you should tell your teen. I would also use the tracking device in a more active way. When these reporting devices are installed in vehicles claim rates go down. And, real-time feedback helps drivers learn to drive better. It is important, at any age, to take steps against distracted driving. Here is a serious article with a funny ending- the founder of a company that provides these devices getting rear-ended at a red light!

www.zendrive.com