For Reals, Officer??

When was  the last time you were frightened? The shaking-in-your-boots kind of fear.

The kind that leaves you breathless. Anxious. And worried.

I felt that way this weekend, and honestly, it was my fault.

There, I feel so much better admitting it. (No, I don’t, but I’m trying to be a Big Girl!)

I was driving Mom’s Fancy Pants car, chauffeuring her to various grocery stores so she could save a nickel here and a dollar there, when my cell phone rang the oh-so-familiar Notre Dame “Victory March.”

It was Domer!

And I had to talk to him. He’d spent the weekend with one of his college buddies in farther parts of The Land of the North and was returning home on the highway. He needed me to keep him company. To make certain he got there, safe and sound.

So I was yakking away when from the corner of my eye, I spied a local police car, who immediately pulled in behind me.

I told Domer I had to hang up, but he was in the middle of a story, one I wanted to hear.

And we kept yakking.

Eventually, I hung up and stopped at a red light. Officer By-the-Book whipped into the lane beside me and instructed me to lower my window.


He reminded me that Illinois law — new as of Jan. 1, 2014 — mandates that cell phone use while driving is illegal.

I tried to explain why I had to talk to my son, but he wasn’t having any of it.

‘No, you don’t,’ he said. ‘You pull over and talk, or the next time, it’s a $120 fine.’


So any of you driving through Illinois are forewarned — NO CELL PHONES (unless, of course, you’d like to contribute to our shrinking state coffers!)

26 thoughts on “For Reals, Officer??

  1. I am glad that Johnny Law didn’t give Debbie Lawless a ticket :-D. In Chicago hands free has been the law for a long time. I hate ear pieces and will admit to abruptly dropping my phone in my lap on occasion. The time I wasn’t fast enough, I had allowed myself to be pulled into a heated political debate about our next president. When I rolled down my window the officer asked me what was so important that I had to be on my phone while driving….I spurted out that I was arguing about who should win the election. He smiled and ask, “Well who should win the election.” I looked at him and said President Obama should be reelected.” He grinned, said good answer, told me to use a headset and to have a nice day. If he had said wrong answer it would have been worth the price of the ticket – as it was, I can’t say Obama has never done anything for me. :-D.
    Buy a headset and you’ll never have to hang up on your dear boy again or I suspect take a bit of teasing from that same boy.

    • I’ve seen those headsets, and I’ve got to say, They look ridiculous. People wear them in department or grocery stores, too, and it always unnerves me a bit, thinking they’re talking to me when they’re not! I suppose looking ridiculous has become the norm (or certainly, the law!). Perhaps I’ll just insist on taking my car from now on — it’s hooked up to Bluetooth.

  2. I hate talking on my cell while driving and do it only if necessary. It’s not illegal here, but I’m one who doesn’t even like to fiddle with the radio etc…while driving.

    • You’re probably one of those good and conscientious drivers, Suzi. The kind police officers just love! And you probably will never have to worry about hitting a worker in a construction zone because you’re otherwise occupied — good for you!

  3. Whew…so glad to hear he didn’t give you a ticket, Debbie.

    Here in PA, we have the same law, however, I constantly see drivers using their cell phones while driving. In fact, just yesterday while I was crossing the street, a car started to turn the corner and almost hit me. And the only reason he didn’t was because I looked to my left just in time and stopped walking before he made the turn.

    Isn’t it a scary thing to be pulled over by a cop? I’ve had that happen several times for either a tail light being out or for not making a complete stop at a stop sign. Luckily for me though, I was never given tickets.

    Have SUPER week, dear lady!

    • Having nearly been run over myself by cell phone gabbers, I know how frightening that can be. We tend to think *we’re* not the root of the problem (it’s always “that other guy”). Nevertheless, the law is the law, and whether I agree with it or not is beside the point (and I do tend to rebel when I realize just how legislated we’re all becoming!). Nor did I think it would’ve smoothed Officer By-the-book’s feathers if I’d shared that I was out of the state when the law went into effect!
      Thanks for dropping by, Ron, and enjoy your Monday night!

    • Thanks for asking, Kim. As a matter of fact, I’m planning on visiting the lad within the next few weeks, so I hope to have some interesting tales to blog about. I’m fortunate the officer only gave me a warning, but I tell you, my heart was thumping when I saw him gesture for me to roll down my window!

  4. Luckily you got a warning. California has that law, too but I don’t think Arizona does. (They probably should!) Funny thing is that I bought a plug-in earpiece where I could talk hands-free but I have no idea where I put it. I refuse to do blue tooth because I don’t want to wear that roach-looking piece in my ear and look like some creature from Star Trek.

    Glad to see in your comment above that you’ll get to visit with your son soon!

    • Thanks, Janna — I’m looking forward to catching up with Domer. It’s been since Christmas that I saw him, so my visit is way past due!

      I imagine more and more states are going to enact laws like no cell phone use while driving. I know they’re just trying to protect us from ourselves, and I know most of us talking on the phone *aren’t* paying attention. Still, gee, you’d think somebody could come up with a better-looking device if we have to be hands-free!

  5. I’m sorry. I don’t care whether it’s the law, and I don’t care what the fine is. Don’t talk or text and drive. I have a friend whose shoulder was ruined for years because someone talking on a cell phone ran a red light and t-boned him on the driver’s side. And I know two people who have lost family members to people who were yakking on their phones when they (1) ran into the back of the car at 70 mph or (2) swerved around a car they thought was going too slow in a 40 mph zone and hit the child who was crossing the street.

    I hate our over-regulated society as much as anyone, and nothing drives me more crazy than cops who are out to meet their quotas. But that doesn’t mean that seat belts don’t save lives (one saved mine once) or that distracted driving isn’t a problem. My friends, family and customers have been trained to know that, if they call and don’t reach me, they’ll hear back from me shortly. Nothing’s worth getting killed or, even worse, killing or injuring someone else.

    Besides, how would Domer feel if you were in an accident because you were talking to him? How would you feel if he was in an accident because he was talking to you?

    OK. Rant over. You just pushed one of my few buttons! 😉

    • Logically, I agree with you 100 percent, Linda. My late uncle (another rebel, by the way!) refused to wear seat belts, claiming the government didn’t have any business telling him what to wear. But I, too, am here because I was wearing a seat belt, so I prefer to differ with him.

      Cell phone use is similar. The phone companies have gotten us ALL used to talking via unlimited minutes ALL the time. Do we need to? No, of course not. I don’t have a single client who *needs* my immediate attention 24/7. This call was a bit different, but I’ll concede I should have found out Domer was safe, then promised to call him back after I’d completed Mom’s errands.

      Thanks for pointing out the obvious — neither Domer nor I could live with ourselves if something happened to one of us because of our own stupidity.

      • I really don’t think it’s stupidity, Debbie. It’s closer to what you mentioned. The companies have enticed us into think we have to have 24/7 connectivity.

        When I first started my business, I did it the same way everyone else did — with pay phones and telephone credit cards! I had to actually make a stop to make a phone call! We never thought a thing about it. Why, I even remember collect calls, and rotary dials, and…and… Maybe I should stop. Either that, or go find my walker. 😉

        • “Walker?” Too funny, Linda. But yes, I remember having to phone in news stories to our city desk when they occurred at press time (rather than driving back and typing them in). And we had pagers before cell phones were common — so they could reach us as needed. I found it more like a tether. Ah, the good ole days!

  6. Personally I agree with the law. Too many people have been killed by distracted drivers. No conversation is worth that. And would you really want your son to hear a crash in the middle of the conversation? Of course not.

    • Yikes, why hadn’t I thought of that, Dawn?? Thank you for pointing out what should have been obvious (and no, I wouldn’t want to hear a crash and know he was involved in it, either!)

  7. Here in California, you can talk on the phone as long as you don’t hold the phone up to your ear. You basically need a bluetooth. Is that the case there? Anyway, a month after buying my current car, which was brand new at the time, a lady ran into my car at a four-way Stop intersection. She didn’t stop when she was supposed to and sailed right through, thus slamming into the front door, driver’s side–where i was! Luckily because we were in a neighborhood she must’ve not been going to fast, because I was okay. But my month-old car needed $13,000 worth of repairs. Oh yeah, and she was on her cell phone the entire time, even after the accident. Me? I was in shock and had to make do without a car for the next two months. The law’s there for a reason, and there’s no excuse for not abiding by it, not even for our kids.

    • Well stated, Monica. Nothing like first-hand experience to bring a point right home! I’m glad you’re okay from this horrendous ordeal, but it’s so hard having a brand-new car nearly totaled by someone yakking away on a cell phone and not paying attention to her driving. I hope your insurance rates didn’t go up because of this one! Thanks for sharing your story.

      • No, my rates stayed the same. I took photos, once I got over the shock of what had happened and someone had helped me out of my car through the passenger side. I sent the photos to my insurance and they were able to tell, by the positions the cars ended up, that it wasn’t my fault. The downside was the other driver’s insurance fought it all the way because 1) she swore she stopped at the Stop sign and 2) the law does not allow the insurance companies to request to see her cell phone bill. If they could’ve, it would have provided the proof that she was on the phone at the time of the accident. I saw that she was holding the phone to her face, but there were no other witnesses.

        Anyway, since she and her insurance wouldn’t accept responsibility, I had to pay for a car rental after the first 30 days. But at least I didn’t have to pay the deductible. Whew. Funny, but Stop sign intersections have made me nervous ever since. So has seeing people on their phones while driving.

  8. Here in NY… it’s illegal also. It’s good you admitted your wrong…learn from it…forgive yourself and move on. We all have done it and have made new commitments not to do it anymore. It takes time to make adjustments to new laws.

    I hate getting pulled over by the police. Back in my youth I got lots of speeding tickets. Yup me Deb! They used to call me mustang Sallie. I’m rehabilitated now and haven’t gotten a speeding ticket in years. Thank God he let you off.

    I know how you feel when adult kids call. It’s an honor to us moms that they want to talk with us. We love them so and miss the closeness we had in raising them.

    • That’s it exactly, Tanya — we love them and miss them, so whenever they feel the urge to talk, we’re there to listen! That officer was just too young to understand and appreciate it, ha!
      Seriously, I’m glad to hear NY has a similar law. It really is necessary to protect us from the dumb things we (and others) do, though in a perfect world, we’d just *know* that yakking on a phone while driving isn’t a good idea!

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