Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What The Hell Wednesday - Hang up and drive

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may already know how I feel about those who talk on their cell phones while driving. If you don't know, then go read THIS....but put down your phone first. In the spirit of "Get off your damn cell phone and drive" I found this little gem. Okay, so it's not so little. It may be one of the longest articles I have regurgitated, but if it weren't good it wouldn't be here.

Ex-Cop Reporting Drunk Diver Told To Hang Up

CALGARY - Following a suspected drunk driver who was weaving all over the highway near Okotoks, retired Mountie Rob Laird grabbed his cellphone and dialed 911.

But Laird said he was shocked when after taking his information, the RCMP dispatcher told him to hang up and stop following the suspect SUV as Laird was breaking the province's new distracted driving law.

"In all my years (of policing) I never saw anyone drive like this," said Laird, who was an RCMP officer for 10 years in Okotoks, High River and Calgary.

"Completely over into the left-hand lane forcing vehicles to take the ditch and shoulder, then back again and down into the other ditch where I thought 'he'll end it here and roll it' but this went on for a long ways.

"Finally we pulled up to a traffic light by Okotoks and stopped so I wrote the license plate down and phoned 911.

"I told the girl I was going to witness a fatal accident."

After giving the dispatcher the plate number and a description of the vehicle, Laird said he was told not to follow the vehicle any longer as he was breaking the law himself.

"She said 'are you on hands-free?' and I said 'no, I'm not' and she says 'sir, I want you to hang up because you are breaking the law and I want you to cease following that vehicle.'"

Laird didn't listen, however, and after hanging up, said he followed the SUV to Black Diamond.

"I watched him get out and stagger and fall and grab his golf clubs out of the trunk and stagger into the house and basically get away with this crime," he said.

Given the gravity of the situation, Laird said the police should have been more worried about a potential drunk driver than his holding a cell phone to his ear.

"My understanding of the law is if you are calling about an emergency, you can use your phone," he said.

But that's not entirely true, explained RCMP spokesman Tim Taniguchi.

"It basically says the use of a cellular phone or other communication device (is allowed) for contacting an emergency response unit by an individual driving or operation a vehicle," he said.

"What we do is if a person calls from a vehicle using a wireless device, that's a contact, we get sufficient information to effect a police response."

Taniguchi said police got enough information from Laird -- the license plate, vehicle make and color -- to begin investigation, which is now ongoing.

"We cannot allow the driver to follow a vehicle while on a phone because that's going against the legislation," he said.

"The best situation would be to have a hands-free device or allow a passenger to use the phone and relay information." 

So who's the bad guy here? We have three parties all of whom is that right? If it isn't I know someone out there will correct me seem to be teetering on the edge of wrong. Okay, so drunk, weaving, careless idiot driver is  NOT on the edge but waaay over. The other two, however, are clearly in that area of two rights - one trying to be more right than the other - are not necessarily right.

But before I get into that....Okotoks?? Who names these towns? Oh yeah, Canadians. Now back to my story.

Ex-cop just can't stop being a cop. Dispatcher is so rigid with rules she probably can't go to the bathroom without a handbook. These two were on a collision course with one trying to be more right and law abiding than the other. So much so that the drunk gets away. He even has time to get his golf clubs out of his trunk. Saaaay! I wonder if the SUV driver was the same guy caught drunk driving in a golf cart in Massachusetts - you know...the one someone called police about to say a clown stole a golf cart? Naaah. Couldn't be.

But to add insult to injury, we get a lesson on what is legal and what is illegal about using a "non-hands-free" cellular device while driving. Gee, common sense says if you have doubt don't. Which brings me to another point - common sense doesn't appear to be so common any more. So sad.

Without a doubt, when ex-cop and dispatcher hung up from talking with one another, they simultaneously said, "What the Hell?"


Anonymous said...

Hang up my phone? Dammit. I was reading this post from my phone while driving until I realized it was one of your pet peeves.

(I jest. I keep my phone zipped into my backpack and in the backseat of the car while I'm driving. It's just better that way.)

C.M. Jackson said...

yep you can't make this stuff up..I'm better than I was but have been known to glance at the blackberry...I think Titanium's idea is a great one...best c

Cloudia said...

we're being 'technicality-ed' to death!

Warm Aloha from Waikiki;

Comfort Spiral

/ )

> < } } ( ° >

Claudya Martinez said...

I saw a guy with his cell phone duct taped to his ear while he was driving. I guess that made it hands free.

Brian Miller said...

duct taped to his ear...now there is an idea...hmm....yeah common sense is not so common...i dunno...sometimes i just dont know...

MorningAJ said...

I think the clue here is in EX cop. He reported the guy (legally because he was making an emergency call) gave the number of the car and its location, and he should then have quit, like a normal citizen would have done.

Why? Because he's an EX cop. He is a normal citizen now.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Just when I got my shoulder to ear stance down, practised just for use in the car...then you go and post this.

Deb said...

If Mad calls me while driving, I just hang up on her. I swear! I say, "Are you driving?" She says, "Yes." *CLICK* ----But, in this story, c'mon........are you kidding? The ex cop should have just told the dispatcher he was on a hands-free and had the guy arrested before he killed someone, or in this case, grabbed his golf equipment. lol

Unreal. I am totally with you about people driving while on cell phones. I also have a pet peeve with people using cell phones and talking loudly in a public place, especially a doctor's office. Ugh... so disrespectful!!!

the walking man said...

O(nce she told me to hang up i would have been saying what the hell and gone home.

Cathy Feaster said...

I cracked up when you said she needs a handbook to pee! I guess he shoulda just called in the info and left it alone from there...i guess nosiness got the best of him, though

Maybe you. said...

gruesome shit! this world need some supermans..

Maude Lynn said...

Oh, good grief!

Julie Ferguson said...

I think worrying about taking the drunk driver off the rode should have been top priority. Personally, I will not talk on my phone in my car. It is too distracting.

DaleTheDoll said...

The Human says you're not scared of me at all. Well, I can't have that. I spent a lot of time with that wicked vintage mask she sent you. Beware--it might have Dale mojo.

Unknown said...

You got that right about common sense! I totally think the man did the right thing by getting on his cell phone to report that idiot. Seems clear to me!