Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Havre Council Ready to Ban Cell Phones while Driving

It seems the hot issue on the streets this morning is the Havre Councils attempt to ban the use of cell phones while driving. The issue with those we have spoke with this morning is not so much the ban on cell phones but the fact that the City wants to make this a primary offense which means that any patrolman suspecting you of cell phone use while driving has the legal right to pull you over to investigate. The contention of most of those we spoke with is that the patrolmen have plenty of reasons to pull people over already without providing them with yet another excuse.

Those that approve of this ban cite instances of near calamity they have personally experienced by people distracted by cell phone use. The driving force behind this push on the council has come from Val Murri, former publisher of the HDN, who has brought the matter up at every city council meeting he has attended.

Interestingly the council has suggested that this ban not include emergency personnel like the police and firemen. I find this exemption hard to justify as both the police and fire vehicle have radio communication with the dispatch center and really have no need for cell phone use other than for personal business. It is also ironic that in all this debate about restricting our use of cell phones I regularly see police cruising in their squad cars yakking on their cell phones.

If you have an opinion on the proposed cell phone ban you better hustle to make your opinion known as the final reading on this ordinance is to be held at the council meeting on June 7th.  (correction- the council meeting is June 6th - thanks Prof)   Read a related article on the HDN website here

Just as an afterthought – Should people that drive around town with little dogs in their laps also receive the same citation as the person distracted by using a cell phone while driving?


  1. We need the government to tell us how to live and how to drive because we aren’t smart enough to figure it out for ourselves. I am dumbfounded we have survived all these years without all these regulations. A couple nights in jail and a big fine will cure these heinous cell phone talkers from lifting the receiver while driving. Really clean up the town and arrest all those guys that hawk boogers while sitting at the stop lights while you are at it.

    You go senseless bureaucrats!

  2. Well now the Havre PD has yet another reason to pull someone over.

    Not like they need one, as anyone who has driven down 1st street around 2 AM is certainly aware of.

  3. You don't need to drive at 2 am. A muddy license plate will work just as well.

  4. I think I am fairly safe while talking on my cell phone and if I have to take notes I pull over. Where I have had close calls is with those people riding with dogs bouncing all over the place and people messing with their cigarettes instead of paying attention. If they ban cell phones they also should ban dogs in vehicles and smoking while driving

  5. I think the biggest problem of using cell phones while driving is texting. You cant watch the road and READ your phone at the same time. Pretty funny though if by law you can only use your mobile phone if your not mobile.

  6. Adding to Jimbo: please outlaw cats, puppies, burgers, tacos, sodas, hair fixing, make up applying, booger picking, stereo adjusting and CHILDREN!!!

    Cranky, agree, I live on a crappy, dirty road. It's pretty sad I stop at the gas station to clean my license plate more often then my windows!

  7. Havre just has to cause a disturbance. Get along with the constituents for once.We have all this tech. and can't use it. Responsibly I understand. We are in a fast paced society. More problems will arise from this than will bill be solved. I didn't think Woody would be all nutsy about this issue. Accident or not. txt and driving is not always a good idea for sure but this is over the top. Those who would want personal freedoms are leading this charge. ???

  8. You need to clean out the council more than the school board it looks like!

  9. You can thank Val Murri for getting this cell phone ban on the councils radar screen. He has badgered the council for months about getting this on the books

  10. If people really don't want this to become a new excuse to get pulled over they had better go to the next council meeting before the final vote is official

    What will be next?

  11. According to the City of Havre's website, the next meeting is scheduled for the 6th not the 7th.

    Just thought I'd point that out.

    And FYI I went to my office to post this and not on my smartphone, although I was tempted!

  12. It's all about the money if the PD did not think they could make more money off your kids driving and using there phone they would scrap the whole idea. The city must really be hard up for money where they spend it who knows. I think it is a real shame that the city thinks that there work force is more qualified to drive and talk than the tax payers who pay them.

  13. They make money off DUIs. That is why people are continually pulled over at night.

    Cell phone records are routinely pulled by insurance and other parties involved in civil lawsuits after an accident. This is another recourse, rather than GIVING Havre PD another excuse to HARASS local drivers.

  14. FuelburnerI think it might be worse than you initially thought. In fact the more I think about this the more pissed I get.

    From my discussions with a few councilpersons, I don't think this proposal came from the Police Department at all, but rather as a suggestion from Woody Woodwick and Val Murri.

    This bad idea was hatched at the Council level when Val pestered the ordinance committee to discuss the cell phone issue endlessly until they gave in and drafted a proposal which I guess they liked and here we are.

    I think everyone needs to attend the Council meeting on Monday June 6th at 7PM and voice their opinion about this ordinance or suffer the consequences!

    My thanks to Gerry Veis and Andrew Brekke for standing up for our rights to be stupid if we like to. This is another example of the nannystate now coming to Havre where Woodwick, Hillery, Kaftan, Trethewey and Kaul mother us all out of our drunken stupors!

    Perhaps some on this council have used their cell phones so much they have developed tumors so they no longer have any common sense!

    Perhaps some of us should run down to the courthouse and file for office ourselves and vote the bums out!

  15. Just saw a sheriffs deputy driving down the street talking on his cell phone. I wish I had my camera and I would have sent you a picture

  16. I think there are a lot of idiots that can't walk and chew gum at the same time,and i think there should be a law against cell phone use,on the other hand i think it should be a secondary offense because i dont like the cops using it for an excuse to pull me over to snoop around.Heres an example,a guy that was talking on his phone pulled out of fleet he didn't even see me, as a result I rearended the guy and got the ticket.If it would have been a secondary offense we could have subpeoned his cell phone and might have changed the outcome.As far as texting, anyone on this blog would have to agree that you wouldn't want your teen kids or grandkids driving and texting.

  17. Fed Up, I guess I fail to understand your point about the primary or secondary nature of the offense?

    I understand the "excuse to pull me over to snoop," but I don't comprehend how if in the case you mentioned the offense being secondary would have anything to do with whether or not the cell phone would be subpeonaed or not.

    The nature of the offense being primary or secondary doesn't have anything to do with investigation of the incident or blame, but rather whether or not the officer may or may not initiate a traffic stop.

    If an offense is a primary offense, the officer may initiate a traffic stop to investigage that offense or any other once probable cause has been established.

    If it is secondary, another primary offense such as speeding or a stop sign violation would need to be committed in order to initiate a traffic stop.

    It has nothing to do with whether or not you or the officers could subpeona the records to prove fault in a traffic accident.

    Incidentally, DeCon I don't think getting a subpeona is as easy or "routine" as you claim. It is definitely possible to do, but obtaining someone's cell phone records from a cell phone company would require good cause not just a fishing expedition, expecially in a civil matter.

  18. To Professor,seatbelts are a secondary offense,the cops questioned both of us involved in the accident about wheather or not we were wearing our seatbelts if either one of us would have said no, we would have been ticketed for the violation.As for cellphone use ie texting should carry a penalty of say $100.00 for a legitimate local charity of offenders choice then maybe our overzelous powers that be might be reined in some.

  19. Well professor-

    Lets put it this way.

    If I were suing someone over a car accident, and my attorney did not subpeona the other parties cell phone records during the incident, I would be finding another attorney.