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Ticket for Negligent Driving

The Honch

Member
Aug 18, 2016
5
0
Kentfield, CA
Hi All,

Apologies if this has already been written about, I did a handful of quick searches, but didn't find anything.

I just received a ticket for Negligent Driving in the 2nd degree in WA state on a long road trip for allegedly not holding onto the steering wheel. All the officer said was I did not have my hands on the wheel for 1 mile and looking at my phone. I had looked at my phone to dial a hands free call, but generally steer using my hand on the bottom side of the steering wheel, which wouldn't have been visible to anyone behind. I didn't have a chance to discuss this with him there as he was in hurry to write the ticket.

Has this happened to anyone else? Any help would be greatly appreciated as I haven't received many tickets broadly, and this appears to be a big one. Thanks all.

Cheers,

John
 

Boourns

Active Member
Mar 9, 2016
1,619
2,012
Dallas
This appears to be the statute. Given the forum you posted in I presume you had AP on?

Negligent driving—Second degree.
(1)(a) A person is guilty of negligent driving in the second degree if, under circumstances not constituting negligent driving in the first degree, he or she operates a motor vehicle in a manner that is both negligent and endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to negligent driving in the second degree that must be proved by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence, that the driver was operating the motor vehicle on private property with the consent of the owner in a manner consistent with the owner's consent.
(c) Negligent driving in the second degree is a traffic infraction and is subject to a penalty of two hundred fifty dollars.
(2) For the purposes of this section, "negligent" means the failure to exercise ordinary care, and is the doing of some act that a reasonably careful person would not do under the same or similar circumstances or the failure to do something that a reasonably careful person would do under the same or similar circumstances.
(3) Any act prohibited by this section that also constitutes a crime under any other law of this state may be the basis of prosecution under such other law notwithstanding that it may also be the basis for prosecution under this section.
 

cgiGuy

Active Member
Jul 9, 2013
1,503
1,119
Everywhere, Nowhere
Was he in a SUV driving next to you for a full minute to have witnessed this? Otherwise, I can't see how he'll be able to prove it in court.

And for future calls... voice command button and "Call [any person in your contacts]" works great.
 

kort677

Banned
Sep 17, 2015
4,801
2,996
florida.
go to trial! maybe tesla might be able to offer expert testimony to explain to those who might not be enlightened to the capabilities of the AP system.
as others have noted, will the cop be able to support his claims?
 

Ormond

Active Member
Jul 10, 2016
1,114
1,819
Central Florida
You might want to speak with an attorney. If you were using AP, perhaps it would be helpful to take a photo of the area where you got the ticket showing the road conditions and how they were conducive to using AP. The daily weather report from that day might also help if favorable. The best evidence will be your testimony that you were holding the wheel.
 

Drivin

Member
Feb 7, 2016
956
782
CA
If you are looking at your phone while driving, you are negligent. Especially if he noticed you doing this over a mile.
Pay up and move on and don't do that anymore.

Did you see that commercial about the kid in the car, who turns out was not in the car and actually killed by a negligent driver who was using their phone?
 

MGMDaware

Falcor
Supporting Member
Jun 23, 2016
445
265
DC
This is very interesting. I would fight this to the end. There is no way the police officer can prove his/her claim. I also hold the steering wheel from the bottom (most comfortable). If/when in AP I get a notification to hold steering wheel, I just give a little squeeze and/or gentle tug (that sounds dirty). Satisfies the AP request. I also tend to drive that way (hands on bottom) when NOT in AP. Sounds like the officer is fishing. FIGHT!!!!!!!
 

chillaban

Active Member
May 5, 2016
3,723
6,597
Bay Area
Handheld phone use while driving in Washington State is illegal. Period.

Except it's more nuanced than that:

RCW 46.61.667: Using a wireless communications device or handheld mobile telephone while driving.
RCW 46.61.668: Sending, reading, or writing a text message while driving.

667 covers holding a phone to your ear while driving, while 668 covers "sending, reading, or writing a text message"


Notably,
(c) A person does not send, read, or write a text message when he or she reads, selects, or enters a phone number or name in a wireless communications device for the purpose of making a phone call.


The OP's alleged phone use can still potentially be legal. Frowned upon, but not necessarily against the law given what he was ticketed for.


(To be clear, I am not at all an advocate of texting and driving or any other sort of distracted driving. But these laws written for distracted driving are all poorly written and fraught with loopholes)
 
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BerTX

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
May 2, 2014
3,505
3,647
Texas/Washington
Except it's more nuanced than that:

RCW 46.61.667: Using a wireless communications device or handheld mobile telephone while driving.
RCW 46.61.668: Sending, reading, or writing a text message while driving.

667 covers holding a phone to your ear while driving, while 668 covers "sending, reading, or writing a text message"


Notably,



The OP's alleged phone use can still potentially be legal. Frowned upon, but not necessarily against the law given what he was ticketed for.


(To be clear, I am not at all an advocate of texting and driving or any other sort of distracted driving. But these laws written for distracted driving are all poorly written and fraught with loopholes)

Yes, I was wrong. I had not read the law, just had it pointed out to me. I gotta admit, thats idiotic wording -- driving with the phone to your ear where you can look around and pay attention is illegal, but looking down with eyes off the road to select phone numbers from your contacts list is ok.
 
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JeffK

Well-Known Member
Apr 27, 2016
6,997
6,930
Indianapolis
The looking at your phone thing kind of seals your fate here no matter how you held the wheel, whether autopilot or not. It's especially bad if you were using autopilot because this would put you into the stereotype of people who think autopilot means the car is self driving and so you were potentially not paying attention to the road.

You'd have to testify that you were only looking at your phone during the time it takes to put in a number and not for an entire mile. Also that you steer the way you do. It's doubtful you'll lose if you take it to court. The cop probably won't even show up.
 
Last edited:

Boourns

Active Member
Mar 9, 2016
1,619
2,012
Dallas
Definitely talk to a lawyer, but there may be some case to be made by focusing on this part:

"negligent" means the failure to exercise ordinary care, and is the doing of some act that a reasonably careful person would not do under the same or similar circumstances or the failure to do something that a reasonably careful person would do under the same or similar circumstances.

Would a reasonably careful person do what you did given the circumstances?
 

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