Undercover cops in Marietta, Georgia dressed as construction workers and snooped on drivers at traffic lights to see if they were using cell phones. If they were, they got ticketed.
Cops of course said this is all about safety and making sure people aren’t distracted while they’re driving. Others are saying this is about revenue collection. WSB-TV reported:
Some drivers call it sneaky, but one metro police department says going undercover is an effective way to bust drivers texting, tweeting or checking emails behind the wheel.
Marietta Police dressed up as a construction crew at a busy Cobb County intersection Wednesday to catch distracted drivers in the act.
Most drivers paid no attention to the road crew working at Cobb Parkway at Roswell Road, but the crew wasn’t radioing in survey readings — they were busting distracted drivers.
“What we’ve done here is we’re able to put officers in the roads so we’re able to get close enough almost inside their cars so we can look down and see exactly what they’re doing on their phones,” said Marietta police Officer Nick Serkedakis.
Police say making good distracted driving cases are tough because it is often challenging to figure out exactly what the driver is doing in the car. This way, their cases are much stronger.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re stopped at a light, if you’re on a public thoroughfare and facing the phone we’re going to have a conversation with you,” Serkedakis said.
Many pulled over couldn’t believe they were getting busted while sitting at a light, so police had to spend time explaining the law to some skeptics.
“Anytime you’re in the road, in the roadway, you’re in gear and in control of the roadway. Even reading it falls under the code section as well,” one officer told a driver.
Texting while driving is obviously not a good idea. I don’t even like talking on the phone while I’m driving. I’d rather wait until I’m parked at my destination to do anything with my phone.
But these laws that start off with good intentions always end up being about bringing money in. Georgia enacted a texting while driving law back in 2010. Since then, cops can ticket people for using their cell phone while they’re in the car. Like the cop said above, it doesn’t matter if the person is stopped at a red light. If you’re in the car, the engine is on, and you so much as glance at your phone, you can be ticketed. Each ticket costs $150.
Like speeding laws, these texting laws don’t really apply to cops. That shows this isn’t really about safety. If it were about safety, cops wouldn’t be allowed to speed, run red lights and stop signs, text while driving, check their email, or have their laptops open in their car while they’re speeding down the highway.
It’s a revenue generator. And hiding in plain sight as construction workers will yield the most tickets.