A New Excuse to Harrass and Collect

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Orwell described things that seemed a bit much in his novel, 1984. Like, as a for-instance, the Telescreen-prompted mandatory morning calisthenics – physical jerks – the novel’s main character, Winston Smith, was forced to endure each day.NJ SS

Well, things that seemed a bit much when I read this book back in high school – back in the ‘80s – have become our Loving Big Brother reality.

Like this, for instance:

The state of New Jersey – arguably, the California of the east coast as far as regulatory idiocy goes (this is the state in which you are not allowed to pump your own gas) is on the verge of passing what would be the most idiotic “distracted driving” law in the country.

The legislation – see here – defines “distracted driving” as “any activity unrelated to the actual operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle.”

Italics added.

This to be defined by the New Jersey State Police (and other police) who literally wear uniforms that – excepting the lightning bolt insignia on the collar – look like they were designed by Hugo Boss for Heinrich Himmler’s minions.SS uniform

It could be drinking a cup of coffee. Eating. Almost anything – literally. Hands not at “10” and “2” – both eyes (in the opinion of a cop) not firmly fixed on the road ahead?

Distracted driving!

“The issue is that we need to try, in every way, to discourage distracted driving, it’s dangerous,” Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Democrat in Central Jersey, who sponsored the bill, told The Star-Ledger. “Education and enforcement can change the attitudes of people.”

Javol, Herr Standartenfuhrer!

It’s even worse than “drunk” driving laws, which at least have a specific – objective – measure defining the offense. Your BAC level is either over or under the threshold. It is not up to the cop’s opinion.

But “distracted” driving would be.

The bill is onerous – and tyrannical – on many levels. In addition to criminalizing yet another category of non-harmful actions, it also gives cops a pretext to stop any car, at any time. All a cop need do to justify the stop – and whatever happens subsequent to the stop – is claim he witnessed “distracted” driving.

This is a very important legal point.NJ SS 2

Excepting the egregious random/dragnet-style “safety” and “drunk driving” checkpoints we’re forced to occasionally deal with, in other cases, a cop must have probable cause – some specific, tangible reason that can be substantiated later on, in court,  to justify initiating the pull-over. You have a dead inspection sticker, a burned out brake light. You’ve committed a moving violation of some kind.

Something like that.

But provided you do not have a dead sticker or a burned out brake light and have not committed some specific traffic violation (e.g., failing to come to a complete stop, turning right on red where not allowed) the cop can’t – legally – pull you over. And if he does so regardless, you have a defense, legally speaking, when the matter goes to court. Not just for the initial stop but for whatever occurs subsequently. If the initial stop was not legally defensible, it is possible all charges stemming from the stop will be dropped. This is the “fruit of the poisoned tree” doctrine.

But with the “tool” of an offense so vaguely defined as “distracted” driving – which could be defined by the cop as you glancing at him momentarily (you took your eyes off the road!) or any of a dozen different things, he can no pull you over at will. And go fishing. And even if he doesn’t find anything, you’re not going home empty-handed.SS head shot

The proposed legislation lists fines starting at $200-$400 for the “first offense,” graduating to $400-$600 for the second, ascending from there to $600-$800 and a three month suspension of one’s privilege to drive.

All at the discretion of a costumed and heavily armed state thug whose job is to extract as much money from our hides as possible.

How would one defend oneself against a cop’s claim that he “saw us look away” from the straight ahead? Or “glanced down” to change the radio station?

And is it really “distracted” driving to sip coffee behind the wheel?

The only upside to this business is that it may be Too Much and Too Soon – like Virginia’s equally over-the-top “aggressive driving” statutes (written by a state lawmaker who just happened to be a lawyer whose area of law just happened to be providing high-cost legal assistance to drivers charged with “aggressive driving”) that hit people with four figure fines for simple speeding and other such “offenses.”

It was repealed on a tsunami of public outrage and – hopefully – the same will happen to this New Jersey awfulness.

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28 COMMENTS

  1. I hate to take a cheap shot at New Jersey’s Finest (giggle), but even though I know they’ve had those uniforms since at least the 1920’s, I still think they look like they came from a bad sci-fi film. “Ultra Warriors of the Wasteland” “Space Highwayman”. Or gay cinema: “Leather Club Pickups”

  2. Logically wouldn’t the police radio and dispatch chatter be distracting the cop constantly as well, far worse than a radio since he sometimes has to respond to it? not to mention he’s CONSTANTLY looking at everything BUT the road as a part of his job, therefore he’s distracted driving all the time. Funny how that works, eh?

    The cops around here LOVE the new cellphone laws (“no cellphone usage while driving”) because a common tactic (one just I personally observed 3 times now) is to pull someone over and claim they were using the phone. When they protest they were not, the cop then tells them they were looking down, indicating usage. When the person insists AGAIN they were not, the cops asks to see the phone to look at the records to prove you weren’t.

    Now look what just happened. The cop either charges you with a “crime” you did not commit, OR you have to sacrifice your right not to be electronically searched just to stop the ticket..and yes the cop takes LOTS of notes on your contacts…legalities be damned. Of course a vehicle check and registration check and whatever else usually follows, while he’s got you pulled over after all (for originally no reason at all I remind you).

    No matter what, the cops get their information/fine. It’s pathetic, and laws like this would make it even worse, since he gets the fine based on the indefensible. (your word against a cop for a minor ticket. The judge would stamp the ticket approved before you even walked into the courtroom)

    • Getting time to add limpet mines to the car.
      Got gigged on !-94 (87? Don’t recall) after driving 80 in a 65 zone.
      Piggy thought I should’ve been going slower because I’d just come through the tolls…
      EZ pass, anyone? (I was doing 65 there.)

      This is a Monday about 12:30… (Had a sort of emergency trip to New Jersey.)

      If we don’t take back our country, we’ll lose it. We’re either going to lose it by tyranny (rules for thee, not for me / Hillary et al) or by colonization (aloha Snackbar.)

      We’re just not meant to be PETS for someone else.
      But we’re LONG PAST the point of just shooting them and being rid of their evil.

    • “Logically wouldn’t the police radio and dispatch chatter be distracting the cop constantly as well”
      But you don’t understand – these ‘men’ are Trained Professionals.

  3. New Jersey, what a wonderful place 😉 And to think, run by a Republican who was almost Trump’s running mate. I wonder if he will sign such legislation into law should it arrive on his desk. My guess is that he will.

    Kinda off topic, but did you hear that in my state, California, the legislature has passed a law legalizing lane splitting? We’ve all been doing it forever, and the cops rarely hassled anyone for it, but now it’s gonna be “officially” legal to zip between those lanes of stopped cars on the freeway.

  4. I’ve been pulled over on a number of occasions for no violation whatsoever or some violation that did not exist in the law. (both driving and bicycling) So they already have the power to pull anyone over any time they like. Although I don’t think it’s reached the council of nine yet in the states there more and more decisions that are allowing the products of what cop does when he enforces one of these laws he thinks exist to stand. So this is cementing the practice of making up laws and violations there of.

    Then there is the condition where someone is either ‘speeding’ or driving suspiciously slowly. This is used in the war on some drugs primarily, but works anywhere cops want to harass people. It has stood up in courts too. Can’t remember if it was federal or state but someone who had drugs in the vehicle obeyed every aspect of the vehicle code and the cops eventually pulled him over for doing a school zone speed limit in a school zone late at night. This was held suspicious along with where he had been and time of day and thus the stop was legit. But no violation of the vehicle code had been made.

    • 15 years or so back a case of being stopped illegally in Tx. was taken to the appeals court in Bexar county(San Antonio). The occifer finally, I’m certain with the help of a local prosecutor, decided his reason would be that the license plate was obscured. No, not the letters or numbers but the cotton bowl, the pumpjack and the other stuff around the edge that had been covered by a license plate holder circa dealer installed. The plates have since been revised but it’s rare to see one of those holders on a plate now. But for that to be upheld in an appellate court was ludicrous, all for one single DWI conviction. When you think the purveyors of the law can sink no further they always show they haven’t reached bottom when their need arises.

            • According to the panhandle fella I used to work with, what the UT/OU game was about was whether the Tx boys who crossed the Red River to go to college played better than the ones who stayed home.
              Of course the Cotton Bowl used to be 1 of the big 4 college bowl games. My ex marched in the parade back in the day.

              • I guess UT never had as many billionaires to buy the best team every year. The new OU stadium is gold plated from what I’ve read. I’ve always been amazed how coaches are the most cold-blooded guys you can find and assistant coaches are the best psychologists, get those kids to die for the colors.

                • “UT never had as many billionaires”
                  Too many schools in Tx to divide up the billionaires among.
                  I remember years ago saying “I think the SW Conference (remember them?) should kick out Arkansas and call it the Texas League.” A friend said,”I think they should kick out Rice, and call it the SW Conference.”

              • The fuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhtttttbal cult is one of the chief reasons for our predicament. Nine out of ten men care more about “the game” than the erosion of liberty in this country; know more about “their” team than they do about philosophy or history. Is there anything more pathetic than a man who knows every stat/biographical detail about the life/career of some guy who throws or catches a ball but knows almost nothing about anything substantive that actually affects his life?

                https://ericpetersautos.com/2012/11/09/fuuuuhhhhhhhtttball-the-modern-two-minutes-hate/

                As much as I loathe collectivist authoritarians, I loathe jock worshippers even more. Because they make the former inevitable.

      • When I finally bought license plate frames for my mustangs I bought the thinnest ones on the market. They only cover the stamped flange around the edge. Just enough to keep the plate in place. I did this because I knew of such BS pull over excuses.

    • Yep….and in Commiefornia you can be arrested for “impaired driving” in the “opinion” of the arresting costume wearer.

      “Achtung….Papers”….

      • Hi SoCal,

        Here in Va it is similar. The situation has caused me to drop the hammer rather than pull over on several occasions. They have “incentivized” (to use their idiot verbiage) me to flee. On a bike, I never think twice (except once, which I deeply regret) because I have the advantage. But even on four wheels…. if I have the drop on the bastard… I’m gone.

        The scales have simply fallen from my eyes; I see them for what they are: Thugs. I regard them just as I would an East German Stasi agent. They are scum who deserve no respect and if they can be dodged, flummoxed, outwitted then do so.

        Usually, it’s not hard. Because most are not that bright. And if you know what you’re doing in a car and have a few seconds lead time…

    • Some years back a list of characteristics cops used to ID drug couriers was published. Most seemed fairly common sensical, such as two hispanic males in an older, overloaded Impala with Texas plates in Vermont or words to that effect. But, one really stood out to me to the point that the words are burned into my brain, “strict adherence to all traffic laws”. So, anyone that actually OBEYS the inane traffic laws is ipso facto a “criminal”? Basically they admit they don’t expect laws to be obeyed…cue Hank Reardon.

      • Not a criminal, a suspect. Got to keep the terminology straight Mark.
        But it kind of makes sense, because they KNOW that no one can keep all their silly rules.

  5. I mentioned in response to another article how I fear for my liberty every second I am in the state to visit my sister.

    A few years back, they passed a “No Sunny-Side-Up Egg” law. The people of The Soviet State of New Jersey uncharacteristically rebelled and the law was repealed.

    The good news is that the exit tax (look it up if you doubt me) is keeping most of them from contaminating the rest of the country. The bad news is that there is a large concentration of media folks living in the northern part of the state. They can cross into NYC daily and spread the contamination through their respective outlets.

  6. Turn off alerts on your cell phone. Easiest way to avoid looking at the damn thing. I really wish they didn’t use the term “smart” to describe the current generation of phones because theres nothing smart about them at all. In my mind a “smart phone” would answer, screen and explain to the caller that I’m driving and can’t be bothered, or at least in a pleasant voice tell me that the call is important and I should pull over and take it. And there’s nothing on social media that needs immediate attention.

    Instead we get juvenile ringtones and constant beeping.

    • Got a recent Android, turbo 2, I think – it will read text messages, knows when you’re driving (sort of), and will understand a spoken text response.

      not that any of it matters in this situation…
      Cool tech,
      Stupid servile humans…

      • jean, you might not think it but it’s truck stops with the latest gadgets. My Samsung speaks a text message through my headset. I click the “on” button to make a call and it says “You have one missed text message”. Read it to me I say….and it does in its own way. Since it’s Chinese made(all of ’em)it doesn’t do Spanish well…..or at all for some words. I’ll say Call Juan Villa…..long pause, it replies There is no Won Veeah in your phone book. Who would you like me to call? You stupid bitch, call Juan Villa. I’m sorry, there is no Stupid Bitch in your phone book. Oh yes there is you cunt. There is no “cunt” in your phone book. By this time I’m screaming Fuck You you piece of shit and it says I can’t find Fuck You you piece of shit. Well, I can. It will finally bend you to its will and you just ask to call Jon Vil la. To begin with I thought it was learning and to some extent it was but Spanish is just too much for it.

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