Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Scared Straight

Thursday last week I was having the most horrendous day.

I have been relentlessly working early mornings and staying late into the evening, and when I finally was able to leave work at 6:20 I was beat down and exhausted.

Even worse was to turn onto the freeway and see nothing but brake lights, usually meaning that my commute is now going to take anywhere from 40-70 minutes to get across town.

While traffic was at a standstill, I grabbed my cell phone in my hands and scrolled to update my emails to see what else had entered my inbox since I'd just left the office 15 minutes before since I'm hooked apparently.

Out of the corner of my eye I see an SUV with all the windows rolled down and several arms flailing out the window at me. Bless their hearts, there were several boys ages 8-13 being chauffeured by their mother and they were holding cell phones and giving me the wag of the finger. It took me a moment to process, but *duh* they were being good citizens and reminding me that having more focus on my phone than the road while driving is a BIG fail. Like, huge embarrassing, I'm bad at life fail.

To these good Samaritans I smiled, gave them my best Babbling Brookelyn thumbs up, put my cell phone down and adamantly placed both hands on the wheel at 10 and 2.

Like a goldfish, 40 minutes later and somehow I'd already forgotten how much of a sign I was given by the tweens. As natural as it is to breathe, I grabbed my cell out of the cup holder (at a stop light!) and flipped again to see if there were any new emails. Being solely focused on getting home, I had zero awareness to the world around me.

As the light turned green, I put my phone down and simultaneously I watch in terror as a police car positions himself directly behind me.

Annnnnnd... then the lights flip on behind me.


An officer comes up to my window and asks me if I know why he pulled me over. Yes, of course I knew - I had my phone in my hands while operating a vehicle (and in the State of Oregon that's against the law) even though I was at a stop light. I apologized and even had almost cry face/voice and felt like an idiot - because I was.

He asked me for my license and insurance (and mom, I had the updated card!) and walked back to his car to run some details.

He took his sweet time which was the worst because I was sitting in my car sweating (from heat and fear). When he walked back up to the window, he handed me a piece of paper and told me that this is just a warning (yes! yes! yes!).


A warning that will not be taken lightly.

Violation(s): Driving while using cell $110.00 (To be $500 soon!)

Traffic violations can lead to accidents resulting in property damage, personal injury, or loss of life. 

In an effort to inform you of any equipment problem or other minor infraction, the officer is issuing this notice to you. Please be aware that even the slightest driving problems can have serious effects on others as well as yourself. 

This information will NOT be forwarded to DMV and will NOT be recorded on your police record. It is strictly for your information and education.

Please drive safely

You can bet that I shook that officer's hand so good.

Consider me #ScaredStraight

heart JE


Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon said...

I am really bad about this- and it is not illegal in Colorado. When I use to live in Portland, I got used to ignoring my phone and need to be better about it again. There is also no point to be checking my email in route to/from work!!

brooke lyn said...

i am still bad about this, i have gotten better at just checking when at lights, but still. i need to stop. it's not that important.

Suzannah (@AdvDressmaking) said...

Yikes! Thanks for posting this--I TOTALLY do that pretty much all the time, and I know I shouldn't!! I've heard it compared to drunk driving--absolutely not acceptable! But so hard to stop; I'm constantly connected to my email, too! It's terrible. That fine is huge. Good reminder. I didn't know they could pull you over just for using your phone! Phew!

Rachel Sedaker said...

What a good reminder for all of us. Thank you!

Jessi said...

Yeah bizarre isn't it! The law is while "operating a vehicle" so stop lights count according to this officer. Just say no to phones !

Jessi from iPhone (not in my car!!)

July Summary | JUMPING JE said...

[…] case you missed it, I was pulled over two weeks ago by a police officer who wanted to give me a ‘friendly reminder’ that I cannot use a […]