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ipod use gets you a traffic ticket - at least in Kosciusko County

As many of my readers remember, I voiced my concern about distracted driving laws and their over reaching implications in this earlier blog entry. It now appears that police officers might now look to OLD laws in an effort to try and reduce distracted driving. To me, it's getting a bit ridiculous. See if you agree?

Many of us use our ipods, iphones or android devices for more than just making telephone calls. One of the best features, in my opinion, is the GPS. Can anyone remember the last time they actually used a paper map? I can't. These devices are also capable of being used as dash cameras (much like the cams used by police officers in their vehicles).

But, be careful not to mount the device anywhere that it can be seen. Seen by the the DRIVER that is. According to a recent ariticle, an Warsaw, Indiana man has been ticketed for having his ipod mounted on his dashboard. The driver was actually ticketed under Indiana Code 9-19-17-1. This law, drafted in 1991, and clearly obsolete, given the advancements in automotive technology (Ford Sync anyone?), states that a person may not OWN or OPERATE a motor vehicle that has a television set installed that can be seen by a person sitting in the driver's seat. The offense is a class C infraction. Infractions include a variety of traffic offenses, including, speeding, failing to yied, or unsafe lane movement. However, the plain reading of this law shouldn't apply to ipod and other similar devices.

An ipod is not a television. It cannot receive television signals over the air. If these devices qualify as televisions, what of the in dash lcd screens? The screens that are used with back-up cameras? Wouldn't all of these then qualify as televisions? If so, EVERY owner of a vehicle equipped with this type of amenity is in violation of the law.

This driver is now faced with either paying a fine and court costs for the ticket, or challenging it in court. This could include having to hire an attorney to represent him. He will also be out the time involved in fighting this clearly frivilous ticket.

I can also see further ramifications, a visible ipod or smartphone will be used to initiate a traffic stop, which could lead to other potential, more serious charges. Drunk Driving (DUI/OWI), Reckless Driving, and Driving While Suspend all come to mind.

If you have questions regarding traffic tickets or other criminal defense matters, call me, Gregory A. Miller, I am a Fort Wayne Criminal Defense Lawyer, at (260) 833-7249.