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  1. #1
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Default Cell Phone law...

    From a newspaper...

    The Senate also approved, 39 to 0, a bill making driving while talking on a hand-held cell phone a primary offense, meaning police could issue tickets even if no other violation takes place. The Assembly must still consider it.

    ---------------------

    I know some of the biggest offenders of this in my area and they should be the last ones doing this. They are constantly on their Nextels. So the question is, while using a Nextel's 2 way communication feature, is that still considered using a hand-held cell phone? After all, it's not a phone call but a 2 way radio call. Guess I'd need to see the text of the actual bill.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?


  2. #2
    Forum Member BCmdepas3280's Avatar
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    Bone's, I sold nextel when the New York law was enacted and I informed the customers that they were a phone. I asked a NYS trooper if this was proper advice and he told me a judge will have the final say, but he was going to write it has a cell phone
    IACOJ Membership 2002
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  3. #3
    Forum Member Adam07003's Avatar
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    How bout my Treo, its a PDA/cell phone. Can you still use a PDA while driving Meaning, can i look through contacts/calendars.

    I did that one day looking for a signal up by the NY Rennasaince fair. A cop saw me looking at my phone yelled "get off your phone" i saw him pickup his radio and i KNEW he was calling his buddy up the road who was doing traffic. So as i roll near him hes looking and i start waving "over here" he walked up i said "yer buddy radiod you didn't he" and he said "were you using a phone" i said "im an EMT and im looking for my EMT friend shes somewhere around here, i was looking to see when i got a signal not using my phone" so he said "okay why dontcha pull over up there" and i said "wont do much good, i dont have a signal right here i'm gonna try up the road" - yeah there was a lot of traffic that day, stupid fair. Never did get a signal had to drive like 3 miles up the road.
    Adam, EMT-B

  4. #4
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    Probably not in NJ. The speaker option and the fact that it can be used in the same fashion as a radio would probably make the Nextel exempt unless it is specifically included in the legislation.

  5. #5
    Forum Member FIRE1426's Avatar
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    Default Cell Law

    That Good To Know Thanks

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber SeavilleFire's Avatar
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    I'm a police officer in NJ and I would treat the Nextel as a cell phone. I haven't written a cell phone ticket yet but if I did write those tickets I would treat it as a cell phone. The service is being provided by a cell phone provider and it is part of your cell phone bill. Although it is similiar, it is not a true two-way radio. A good example of why is you don't have to follow FCC guidelines for two-way radios such as licenses, curbing you language, etc. But just like the earlier post stated, the judge has the final word.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeavilleFire
    I'm a police officer in NJ and I would treat the Nextel as a cell phone. I haven't written a cell phone ticket yet but if I did write those tickets I would treat it as a cell phone. The service is being provided by a cell phone provider and it is part of your cell phone bill. Although it is similiar, it is not a true two-way radio. A good example of why is you don't have to follow FCC guidelines for two-way radios such as licenses, curbing you language, etc. But just like the earlier post stated, the judge has the final word.
    Look at the statute again. If the driver has the speaker on and is not holding the unit to his ear, the thing is no different than a CB radio.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber SeavilleFire's Avatar
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    Default Cell Phone Law

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Law
    39:4-97.3 Use of Hands-Free Wireless Telephone in A Moving Vehicle:
    1. a. The use of a wireless telephone by an operator of a moving motor vehicle on a public road or highway shall be unlawful except when the telephone is a hands-free wireless telephone, provided that its placement does not interfere with the operation of federally required safety equipment and the operator exercises a high degree of caution in the operation of the motor vehicle.

    b. The operator of a motor vehicle may use a hand-held wireless telephone while driving with one hand on the steering wheel only if:

    (1) The operator has reason to fear for his life or safety, or believes that a criminal act may be perpetrated against himself or another person; or
    (2) The operator is using the telephone to report to appropriate authorities a fire, a traffic accident, a serious road hazard or medical or hazardous materials emergency, or to report the operator of another motor vehicle who is driving in a reckless, careless or otherwise unsafe manner or who appears to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A hand-held wireless telephone user's telephone records or the testimony or written statements from appropriate authorities receiving such calls shall be deemed sufficient evidence of the existence of all lawful calls made under this paragraph.

    As used in this act, "hands-free wireless telephone" means a mobile telephone that has an internal feature or function, or that is equipped with an attachment or addition, whether or not permanently part of such mobile telephone, by which a user engages in a conversation without the use of either hand.

    "Use" of a wireless telephone shall include, but not be limited to, talking or listening to another person on the telephone.

    c. Enforcement of this act by State or local law enforcement officers shall be accomplished only as a secondary action when the operator of a motor vehicle has been detained for a violation of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes or another offense.
    d. A person who violates this section shall be fined no less than $100 or more than $250.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Look at the statute again. If the driver has the speaker on and is not holding the unit to his ear, the thing is no different than a CB radio.
    There is the law directly from the Title 39 book George. It does not state that for a violation to occur the phone must be to the driver's ear. It states that it must be "hands free". If you are able to operate the two way feature of a Nextel without using either hand then Kudos to you. It may be like a CB radio, but it's not, it's a cell phone service.

    Just to get someone's opinion that actually has some weight behind it I will ask the judge next time I see him and I'll post back to everyone what he says on the matter...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeavilleFire
    There is the law directly from the Title 39 book George. It does not state that for a violation to occur the phone must be to the driver's ear. It states that it must be "hands free". If you are able to operate the two way feature of a Nextel without using either hand then Kudos to you. It may be like a CB radio, but it's not, it's a cell phone service.

    Just to get someone's opinion that actually has some weight behind it I will ask the judge next time I see him and I'll post back to everyone what he says on the matter...
    That's a good idea. If I was the defense atty., my argument would be exactly that-it is the same as a CB radio or the radio in the PD or FD apparatus.

    Two other thoughts:
    1. I understand that LEO's are exempt from this statute.
    2. Leave it to the NJ leg. to make a law that says to get the records of the individual's cell phone use to prosecute the case. The NJ Supreme court has made it virtually impossible to get these records w/o court order from a wiretap quailified judge. You can't compel the defendant to provide the records.

    BTW bro: I am (recently) retired LEO. Stay safe.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber SeavilleFire's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Judge's Ruling

    I asked our municipal court judge and in a nutshell this is what he told me...

    The Nextel, including the two-way feature, is a cell phone. Although it has similarities to a VHF/UHF radio, that is not what it is. However, he did state that the way the law is written now, he would rule that it is not a violation. He said for any cell phone to be legal it must be on speaker phone or in a "hands-free" attachment in the vehicle. He added that the only time it is legal for you to use your hands is to begin or end the call. He stated he considers the push-to-talk button the button to initiate the conversation, which would make the two way feature legal because the driver is using his hand to initiate/end the call.

    It seems to be a very fine line...maybe it should be revised to clarify this and other things such as text messaging, etc. But that is the judge's ruling to get a solid answer for all of us. And just a little disclaimer for those of you that think this will get you out of a ticket: this is on a municipal level...a different judge could rule differently until case law is established...but at least we all have an idea now.

    and congrats on retirement George...I still have another 20 years till I get to retire
    Last edited by SeavilleFire; 12-15-2005 at 01:40 AM.

  11. #11
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Ok, so the CB comments above made me think.

    Am I the only one that thinks this law is kind of silly? It's ok for John Q Public to ride around with his CB microphone (with a wired mike) but not a wireless device? I'd think CB wired mic's would be more of a hazard.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber SeavilleFire's Avatar
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    Nope Bones...I agree it's a silly law. Which is exactly why I haven't written a cell phone ticket yet!

  13. #13
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    but I still eat and drive, adjust the radio, scanner etc......just another stupid law that some brilliant politician came up with to win popularity in my opinion. Anything you do besides actually drive distracts you, therefore why should cellphones be treated any different than any other driving distraction? I don;t know how the NJ statute on careless driving or whatever else that applies reads, but I get the feeling you are treated harsher under these new cellphone laws. Its also interesting to see how many cops are out there with the cellphone glued to their ears. We wonder why so many people lack respect for the law and police officers.

  14. #14
    Forum Member Adam07003's Avatar
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    As much as I don't like this law, I do actually find, that when i am involved in a conversation i tend to not pay attention to what is going on around me, as much as I would not using aphone. hands free or not, i just don't pay as much attention.


    Now, i think its up to a cop to use judgement. I know a lot of cops, won't ticket for it, i had a cop high beam me when i was on a phone and he lit me up and gave me a speeding ticket, but no phone ticket.

    if the guys not driving properly because of his phone, sure write him up, but some people can use a phone and drive fine, its really the driver who need to use better judgement.
    Adam, EMT-B

  15. #15
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Adam, remember that until this new law passes, you can't be pulled over for using your cell phone. Under the current law, it's a class 2 offense which means you have to be pulled over for something else and this added on.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  16. #16
    Forum Member Adam07003's Avatar
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    Noted... i don't use my cell phone when driving so i don't worry. Im not really a phone person as is, i have a headset i use because its less distracting and not a pain on the arm. Holding a cell phone can get tiring after you talk to someone who goes on and on.

    I guess thats like the seatbelt law in FL, where you can't be pulled over for JUST the seatbelt (they might have changed that since i lived there though).
    Adam, EMT-B

  17. #17
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Seatbelt use law started the same way, was a class 2, now a class 1. It's the governments way of "breaking" it in gently.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Can't say I agree completely. Many accidents are caused by people eating behind the wheel..and others by people who have both hands free and just don't have a clue whats going on around them (playing with the radio, looking in a mirror, staring into space, etc).

    I think the cell phone bit is just an scapegoat sometimes... how many accidents are caused by people on CB's, or LEOs using their radios?

  19. #19
    MembersZone Subscriber DougVelting's Avatar
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    Not trying to start a fight, i just would like an opinion on this, isn't it the same thing if the patrolman is using the radio calling in your offense? or is it looked at differently?
    Doug Velting Jr
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  20. #20
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    I have been on the job for 2 years now, so maybe one of the other guys who have more time on can correct me if I am wrong. I thought it was in the Statute, that police, fire, and ems, are exempt from the law when acting within their official capacity??

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