17
   

Distracted driving and calling it in

 
 
Mame
 
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2013 05:49 pm
Our province has had a distracted driving law for some time now, and that isn't just talking or texting on your phone - there's a host of other things it covers, which is fine by me, especially in this horrible weather.

I never have my phone handy (it's in my purse somewhere on the floor) in the car (or at work) and would not answer it anyway. If I was expecting a call, I'd pull over and call them back, but saying that…. I saw a woman at the stop light on her phone. This happens all the time in this city/province. Every time I drive, I see at least one person doing this. The police here are making this (and drunk driving) the number one issue for the next while as it's out of control.

So, being fed up, I got her licence plate number and make of car. When I got to work, I called 911 and asked for the Non-Emergency number to report it. The dispatcher was so rude - You're calling 911 for a distracted driver? I said NO, I just want the non-emerg number (idiot). After more snottiness from her, I reported it all and hung up.

Today I called the non-emerg number and told the officer the story and asked what the correct procedure would be. He told me the only time you can talk on your phone in the car is to call 911, particularly if you're report a drunk or distracted driver. They prefer to get the info ASAP, and 911 was the number to call. Anyway, all they'd do, if they didn't witness it, would be to go and talk to them and tell them to watch it. And, of course, they'd record it on her plate so the NSA would know all about it.

What I'd like to know is what are the laws and procedures where you live? I had no idea I could call 911 in my car. That makes a huge difference to me - from now on, I'm keeping my phone handy so I can call them in. There's absolutely no excuse for being on your phone while you're driving, unless you have a headset, which I also do, but never use (why DID I buy that thing? lol). Hey, maybe I'll use it to call 911. Good idea!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 17 • Views: 7,958 • Replies: 134

 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2013 06:21 pm
you should have called information, which here is 411, for the non-emergency police number, not call 911 directly. The 911 operator was correct in telling you not to tie up the emergency line for a non emergency, especially when it was way after the fact, and when you were calling them to get another number.

Reporting someone talking on their phone is not an emergency. She was not driving in a distracted manner, she was sitting at a light, not moving. Now if she were driving distractedly, all over the road, that would be an emergency. Then, I would know if she was weaving because she was on the phone, drunk, drugged or having a stroke.

Here in Texas, you can talk on the phone while driving. I try not to, but have, and I'm sure in the future will do so if I need to.
I've called 911 on my phone when witnessing an accident. By the time I pulled over and called, the 911 operator said 2 other people had already called it in, and emergency was on its way. I looked around, and saw other people standing around on their phones, so I'm thinking they had already called it in, or were in the process of doing so.

To me, it seems obvious you're allowed to call 911 in your car, if you live in a area where talking on cell phones aren't allowed. 911 is for emergencies, and I would hate to think that I wouldn't call 911 if I was watching someone dying, because I wasn't allowed.
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2013 06:26 pm
@Mame,
I use my phone nearly every time I use my car. I normally use a bluetooth connection, but not always. I'm no more distracted when I'm on the phone than if I'm carrying on a conversation with a passenger. Is that illegal in your province too? What about listening to the radio? Looking out the side window?
0 Replies
 
Nom de plume
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2013 08:16 pm
@Mame,
Here is the western US cellphone use is out of control. The only time it gets prosecuted is after the fact. When a cellphone user causes a fatal accident they may get an additional 3-6 months if they are prosecuted for the accident. It's a joke. Fatalities have increased. About 80 of the other driver's I see are on their phone or even worse texting.
0 Replies
 
jcboy
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2013 08:31 pm
Florida recently passed the no texting while driving law. I won’t even answer my phone while driving home even via the Bluetooth, how dare they cut off my iPod while driving home.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2013 08:48 pm
@jcboy,
I can't imagine texting while driving.
jcboy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2013 09:02 pm
@chai2,
Oh they still do here, I see it everyday!
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2013 09:54 pm
@chai2,
What's the difference in calling 411 or 911? That's what they're there for - to give you a number. And according to the non-emerg officer I called the next day, 911 was the right call. I just wanted to know what the right number was for, 911 or the non-emerg number, and the 911 was right, so **** off, Chai.

The point is, I wasn't asking about what I did, it's about what procedures and protocols are in your area.

Now I know what to do in my area, I can keep my phone on the seat.

And Chai, you should back down just a tad - you're coming off like a ******* bitch. And not in just this thread,
Ceili
 
  4  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2013 11:24 pm
I work in the transportation industry. And have for many years, in many capacities. I am an accident investigator.
Here are the facts.
Canada has 1/3 of the accidents, injuries/fatalities than the US. But before you blame population size, Germany has 1/3 Canada's rate and is far more densely populated than either N. American country. Most deadly accidents happen in rural areas.
Injuries/Fatalities in both countries have been on a steady decline since at least since the early 90's.
Very few N. Americans have ever taken a driving lesson, except from dad... or mom.
The average British person takes 30-60 hours of instruction pre-driving test. The average N. American would fail the most basic driving test 10 years after they got a license.
The fatality rate in the UK is 1/3 of Canada's.
As of 2011 cell phones and perhaps earlier, were the cause 1/3 of all accidents/injuries/fatalities in the US and Canada. This number outshines drunk driving by a mile.
The number 1 distraction in a vehicles worldwide.... is children. And even children don't cause as many accidents as cell phones. Why? Because as advanced as our minds are... they can't compartmentalize conversations in thin air and driving. Our minds fill in the missing links, as it were. We imagine the other person, or the task, or something, but we aren't fully aware of our driving, we can't help it. We're not as removed from the hunter gatherer as we'd like to believe.
Very few accidents are preventable. Very, very few.
So while we arrogantly believe we can do both, that a conversation, a sale, a whatever is more important than the task at hand, we truly cant. Biologically.
It takes more than a decade or so to evolve, to reprogram our brains.
We should also be willing to accept that any slip of the wrist not only puts you and potentially your own at risk, but innocents who have the misfortune of being within your vicinity.
I've been privy to many seminars and speeches given by race car drivers, and to the one, not one of them speed or use a cell phones while driving. They are risk takers, all of them, but they are aware that the streets present risks that even they are not willing to take. Too many variables, mainly the myriad of other drivers who are not paying attention.
Look, 20 yrs ago, this was a moot conversation. When did stuff get soooooooo important? So important that it couldn't wait till I could pull over or got to where I was going to? I work in safety. I see accidents. Terrible, terrible accidents.
Nothing is more important than getting home at the end of the day. Believe me.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  4  
Reply Mon 16 Dec, 2013 04:20 am
@Mame,
Mame wrote:

What's the difference in calling 411 or 911? That's what they're there for - to give you a number. And according to the non-emerg officer I called the next day, 911 was the right call. I just wanted to know what the right number was for, 911 or the non-emerg number, and the 911 was right, so **** off, Chai.




Calm down Mame, no need to tell me to **** off.

I don't know how it works in Cananda, but here in the states it is definately NOT ok to call 911 to get a phone number, even to get the non-emergency number of the police.

Calling 911 like that is considered abuse, and will result in a visit from the police to you, and depending on the severity, could result in an arrest to the 911 caller.

What's the difference between 411 and 911? Confused

Again, I don't know about Canada, but here 411 is a number to call when you want to get a phone number....to the non-emergency number of the police, to Papa Johns Pizza, to your nieghbor down the street.

911 is an Emergency Number....to be used Only in the case of an Emergency. Such as someone is having a heart attack, there's just been a accident, I'm witnessing a break in, or someone is breaking into my house, I've just been raped, someone is choking, my child is knocked out and bleeding heavily, etc.

When you call 911 the very first thing the operator says to you is "911 - What is the nature of your emergency?" Then, while you're telling the operator, they are gathering information, and contacting the proper people, be it fire, police, and ambulance or any and all of the above, then, they will stay on the phone with you if you want, until you can hear help arriving.

Here, 911 is not the number to call to get another phone number, and to an American, it's shocking when someone does that. It's an abuse of the 911 system.
In Canada, your system must be different. That's fine if you're allowed to call 911 to get another number.

From what I read in your original post, the 2nd guy you talked to at the non-emergency number said it was ok to call 911.
The actual 911 operator said it wasn't.
I would go with what the actual 911 operator said, until I got verification from a more official party, other than 2 people saying different things, as calling 911 and using that time could have been the 911 operator wasn't available to take a life threatening call.

That's the difference.

Mame
 
  0  
Reply Mon 16 Dec, 2013 05:28 am
@chai2,
You are so wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

First of all, the first thing I said to the 911 dispatcher, who wasn't a police officer, was that it wasn't an emergency and that I wanted to report a distracted driver and could she give me the non-emergency number. She got snotty. It would have taken her one minute to give it to me.

When I later called the non-emergency line to ask what the right protocol was, I spoke to an actual police officer. He told me 911 was the right call because distracted drivers were in the same category as drunk drivers. He said they would have notified any officers in the area and immediately pulled the car over.

I don't give a **** what happens in your area; this is Alberta I'm talking about.
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Mon 16 Dec, 2013 08:51 am
@Mame,
Mame, how many times did I say in my answer this is how it's done in the U.S.?

You say you don't give a **** what happens in my area, but in your original post you said "What I'd like to know is what are the laws and procedures where you live?"

The laws and procedures here are that you don't call 911 to get phone numbers, and if you do you will get in trouble. You yourself said in your original post "I said NO, I just want the non-emerg number" You said yourself you were not trying to report the driver to 911, you were calling 911, trying to use them as an information operator....411.
In the United States, she could, and hopefully would have reported you, or recorded your number to the list of people who make unnecessary 911 calls.

Yes, 911 calls go to a dispatcher. Everyone knows that. Of course police officers do not directly take 911 calls. That would be unheard of.

Dispatchers are sitting in a room constantly getting 911 calls. Each call is for an emergency situation, and they don't have the resources or the time to take calls from people asking them for phone numbers.

The dispatchers are like air traffic control, coordinating all the emergency situations going on, contacting police, EMS, fire dept etc. It is non-stop and stressful being a 911 dispatcher, just like being an air traffic controller is. They don't HAVE one minute to give you a number, they need to be available to talk to someone and help with those having real emergencies.
How would you like it if you were witnessing someone dying, or a crime in progress, and you had to wait for the phone to ring 5 more times because the dispatchers were busing giving people phone numbers? Seriously, they literally do not HAVE a minute for things like giving out phone numbers.

Dispatchers are the front line. They have to be alert, listening well to incoming information from people in a panic. It's a Huge job. Asking them to stop what they are doing to get you a number would be like walking up to an operating nurse in the middle of surgery and asking her/him to ask the surgeon to give you a call when they can. They'd have every right to not only be snotty, but kick you out, telling you to go to the front desk person. Or even call the police on you.

Also, I would not automatically assume that the police officer who answered the non emergency line has more correctly information than the dispatcher on the emergency life, especially since the information given what 180 degrees away from each other.
It seems that you liked the police officers answer better, so you're going with that. In fact, the dispatcher may have been the one with the correct info, since they are the ones who deal with these situations on a day to day basis. It sounds to me like the non-emergency and emergency people need to get together to hammer out what the proper P&P is.

The police officer may have been correct in saying calling 911 to report a distracted driver, since they are as dangerous as a drunk driver. But you weren't calling 911 to report them, you were calling 911 to get another phone number. When the 911 operator asked you "You're calling 911 for a distracted driver" You could, and it looks like should have said "Yes" and went on and reported it. Not asking them to give you another number. That is the issue I'm having with all this. You call 911 to report something, not to use them as information.

Maybe in Alberta the 911 operators are sitting around and have the time to take calls askings for phone numbers. Here they don't.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  3  
Reply Mon 16 Dec, 2013 09:04 am
@Mame,
Mame

Your use of 911 was completely inappropriate. You wasted a resource that is exclusively for real life-threatening emergencies.

The reason that 911 is only for emergencies is that it provides a way to deal with real emergencies quickly. The 911 operators are set up specifically to provide really fast access to ambulances, police and fire departments for people who need life-or-death help right away.

This is true in Canada as well as in the US

Quote:
DIAL 9 – 1 – 1 for all life threatening situations & crimes in progress

In all cases of an emergency involving a life threatening situation, or a crime in progress, dial 911 immediately. Your call will be answered by an Operator who will direct your call to Police, Fire or Ambulance.

It is very important to state your emergency clearly, and to verify the location that you are calling from.

WHEN THERE IS NO NEED FOR AN IMMEDIATE RESPONSE
DIAL 780-423-4567 or #377 (#377 access only works within city limits)

If you require the attendance of a police officer at your location
If you require advice on how to proceed with a criminal report
A non-violent crime has already been committed, and there are no suspects or evidence
Reporting minor, nuisance crimes, where no violence is involved
You are involved in a vehicle collision but have not sustained injuries, and your vehicle is driveable
Your bike or personal property was stolen
Your vehicle was broken into and items were stolen
Your property or valuables were vandalized
You see suspicious persons or activities
You need to find out how to bail someone out of jail
You have a general question about policing


http://www.edmontonpolice.ca/contacteps.aspx
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Dec, 2013 09:27 am
In NYC, we have a separate city information line for nonemergencies: 311. Other cities should adopt this type of nonemergency based information agency.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Mon 16 Dec, 2013 09:36 am
Here is a cut and paste from the Edmonton Police Service site, and the link is provided below with the complete information.....

The public should not call 911 to report distracted drivers unless there is a significant risk and the driver is displaying erratic behaviour. Members of the public can report a distracted driver to their local Community Station. The complainant must be able to identify the driver, vehicle and be willing to testify as a witness in court.

http://www.edmontonpolice.ca/TrafficVehicles/DistractedDriving.aspx

Since the person in question was sitting at a light, "I saw a woman at the stop light on her phone." and not displaying erratic behavior, the local Community Station, and not 911 should have been called.

If you don't have the non emergency number, you don't call the emergency number to get it.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  0  
Reply Mon 16 Dec, 2013 03:01 pm
According the POLICE OFFICER I spoke with, 911 was the RIGHT number to dial for reporting such an incident. When I called it, the dispatcher could have told me that instead of getting snarky. Another dispatcher might have responded a different way. 'Thank you - when did this happen, what are the details', etc.

It wasn't an abuse of the 911 line because THAT'S WHAT THEY PREFER you dial.

End of story.
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Mon 16 Dec, 2013 03:22 pm
@Mame,
According to the website of the Edmonton police department, the officer you talked to was incorrect. It clearly states on their police website under the heading "distracted drivers" The public should not call 911 to report distracted drivers unless there is a significant risk and the driver is displaying erratic behaviour.
Your driver wasn't displaying any erratic behavior. She was stopped at a light.

http://www.edmontonpolice.ca/TrafficVehicles/DistractedDriving.aspx

I guess you could call the Edmonton Police and tell them to change their website instructions to the public, because an officer you talked to on the phone told you differently, and so they obviously have incorrect information going out to the public.
Since you must have the officers name, maybe you could call him directly and tell him their website with instructions on what to do when encountering someone talking on a cell phone while the vehicle is standing still and there's no erratic behanvior is wrong, and have him straighten everyone out.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Mon 16 Dec, 2013 03:51 pm
@Mame,
A dispatcher's job is to talk to people whose house is on fire, who just found their parents unconscious or their kids are bleeding profusely or who are having chest pains. I don't know about anyone else, but if I had that job I might get pretty annoyed by this kind of frivolous call.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Mon 16 Dec, 2013 07:58 pm
@chai2,
Mame doesn't live in Edmonton. Alberta is a big place.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Dec, 2013 08:06 pm
@Ceili,
I'm confident the policy and procedure is very much the same.

If I knew the town, I'd be glad to check out their website as well.
0 Replies
 
 

 
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