A Vigilante Solution to Texting and Driving

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 12:30 PM

Florida news affiliate WTSP reports on a man accused of putting a mobile cell phone jammer in his car to stop nearby drivers from distracted driving.

Investigators say they caught a Seffner man jamming people's cell phones during his commute down I-4. And they're slapping him with the maximum fine allowed by law: $48,000. Agents from the FCC say Jason R. Humphreys admitted to setting up the jammer in his SUV. He would crank it up during his daily drive down Interstate 4 between Seffner and Downtown Tampa, from 2011 to 2013. The 60-year-old man said his goal was to keep drivers around him from talking on their phones.

If you’ve ever driven a car or been a pedestrian around cars, it’s hard not to sympathize with Humphreys and his somewhat Mr. Burns-esque solution to distracted driving. There are of course a few problems with his plan to block out everyone else’s cell phone conversations.

One, it’s illegal, and the fines are huge. Two, the jammer blocked all nearby communications. That means that a nearby driver wouldn’t have been able to call say, 911 after a car accident. And further, emergency personnel who were within the radius of Humphrey’s jammer wouldn’t be able to use their walkie-talkies.

The full complaint is here. 

PS. Relevant to the above, OTM once tried to solve the mystery of why so much weird news comes from Florida.

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. You can subscribe to our podcast here. You can follow our blog here. We’re also on Twitter, and we play Team Fortress 2 more or less constantly, so find us there if you like to communicate via computer games from six years ago.

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