Police flag down The Fixer over blog on distracted driving by cop
It’s as official as a speeding ticket: I am a “douchebag” for writing about an officer whose cruiser was going too fast and wandering into another traffic lane while he talked on the phone.
Last Thursday I blogged about driving for 10 minutes behind a Toronto police cruiser that was driven erratically by an officer who was talking on the phone and clearly distracted.
I made the point that if he was following me, I’d have been pulled over and issued a ticket for distracted driving – a minimum fine of $155 – and that it’s annoying to watch a cop endanger other drivers when he obviously was not on his way to an emergency.
Several people posted comments to the blog, saying police are exempt from the law that bans driving and talking on the phone, which I did not know when I wrote it.
But I know distracted driving when I see it, and I know that if anyone else was driving like the cop was, they’d be in trouble with the police.
The rules may exempt the driver, but they do not excuse his distracted driving.
Three points here: My blog showed no disrespect for police; He could have pulled over to make (or take) the call(s); Citizens rightly expects a higher standard of behaviour from police than the general public.
A reader sent me a link to a police website called BlueLine.ca, where my blog was posted on a chat forum that allows members to comment on it.
Here’s a sampling:
“Someone should teach “The Fixer” that police in Ontario are exempt in the course of their duties. Why does this douchbaggery never end with the Star?”
“Because it’s the Red Star,” said No 20 Year Medal. “Super Sleuth Reporter Boy is obviously familiar enough with the Highway Traffic Act regarding hand held devices to quote the fine structure, so one would think he’s also familiar (with the exemption for police), a fact he’s conveniently glossed over in order to meet the mandate of pandering to the morally outraged, indignant, wailing, hand-wringing lefties that read this rag.
“I wouldn’t wipe my ass with this paper.”
Punisher-One said “What a douche. I wouldn’t read the Toronto Star if they paid me.”
“Why let the facts get in the way of reporting?” asked Gotchya.
But here’s why I still have faith in and respect for our police.
“I think in this case (cell phone use while driving), we’re our own worst enemy,” said Tinman.
“Yes, I suppose technically any time you’re driving a police vehicle while working meets the definition, but why poke the bear?
“If your traffic unit would jam Joe citizen for taking that call from his wife while he’s driving to work, does it look any better for us to do the same in a marked car?
“We take enough heat on other things; this one is so easy to make it a non-issue with just a little thought.”
Thanks, Tinman. Guys like you are why I will always hold police in high regard, no matter what some of them say about me and my paper.