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Florida Man Faces $48k Fine For Jamming Drivers' Cellphones 358

Posted by timothy
from the carl-hiaasen-on-high-alert dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this news from The Independent: An American driver is facing a $48,000 fine after using a mobile signal jammer in his car to block motorists around him from using their phones on the road. Jason Humphreys reportedly used the jammer from the back seat of his Toyota Highlander for around two years before being caught by Florida police. The 60-year-old said that he used the jammer – which transmits radio signals that interfere with mobile phones – because he was 'fed up' with watching others use their phones on the road. A story from late April (before the fine was levied) gives more detail: The case along I-4 started on April 29, 2013, when the cellular company Metro PCS contacted the Federal Communications Commission because a transmission tower along I-4 would suffer in the morning and evening. A week later, agents from the FCC's enforcement division in Tampa staked out the freeway on May 7, 8, and 9 and pinpointed a “strong wideband emission” in the cellphone wireless range “emanating from a blue Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicle,” with Florida license plates, according to a complaint issued by the FCC on Tuesday. Another clue: When Hillsborough County Sheriffs deputies stopped the SUV, their own two-way radios were jammed."
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Florida Man Faces $48k Fine For Jamming Drivers' Cellphones

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  • You know ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @09:21AM (#47305837) Homepage

    I can't say I disagree with why he did it, but it's kind of hard to argue that he didn't break the law.

    From what I can tell, at any given time a huge fraction of drivers are either texting, or holding onto their phone and talking.

    If where I lived introduced one of those bounties where you get money if you can get a picture of a face and a license plate using the phone while driving ... well, I could go a few blocks from my house to an intersection, and pay off my house in a few weeks.

    Almost weekly I find myself behind someone who is driving a little erratic because they're holding their phone with one hand, gesturing with the other, and not paying attention to what's going on around them.

    I feel bad for this guy, but I fear he's probably screwed, since he broke the law in doing this. If someone had needed to call 911 near him that wouldn't have worked out well.

  • Re:You know ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @09:52AM (#47306137)

    I honestly think that texting and cell phone bans are just using the "third brake light" effect. To get what I'm talking about, cars made before a certain year (I forget exactly when this was) only had two brake lights, one on each side of the rear of the car. Then, one year, the federal government decreed that all cars made that year and in the future needed to have a third brake light, the theory being that the third light would reduce accidents by making it more obvious when a driver was braking.

    The year that regulation went into effect, there was a significant drop in the number of accidents nation-wide. The numbers increased but were still lower than normal for each of the next three or so years, and then suddenly all of the benefit from the third brake light was gone and accidents were back up to normal numbers. Most people who have studied it believe the reason was that the third brake light was something strikingly different from what people were used to, and caused them to pay more attention to the lights - but then people got used to it and the benefits of the third brake light went away.

    The same thing is apparent with texting-while-driving laws. Accidents go down a little when the law is first enacted, then go back up afterward.

  • by Larry_Dillon (20347) <dillon.larry@gma i l . c om> on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @10:50AM (#47306675) Homepage

    I've been seeing too many vehicles with flashing lights lately that didn't used to have them, from school buses and garbage trucks to mall cops. It's making true emergency vehicles, such as police/fire/ambulance not stand out as much as then used to.

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