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Dori Monson

We've got to start holding politicians, police to the same standards as the rest of us

Washington State Patrol traffic ticket
Dori Monson was not pleased to find out that Washington lawmakers can get out of a ticket when driving to Olympia, and that it appears cops can talk on their cell phones while driving, unlike the rest of us. (AP Photo/file) | Zoom
The car that I drive now, it's got Bluetooth, and it's really a sweet system. If I want to make a phone call, I just hit a button on my steering wheel, I say "Telephone," and then I say "Call Jake Skorheim," and it will just call. And it's all hands free, and it's sweet.

But before that, I would get a lot of work done in my car, and I would use the handheld cell phone. I don't know that I'm any safer with a wireless system.

When they passed the law saying that everybody had to go to hands-free, one of the lawmakers who was pushing for it, she set up an obstacle course in the parking lot down at CenturyLink Field and she invited me to come down.

I was talking on a cell phone, driving with one hand on an obstacle course, and they said it will prove to you that you cannot multitask, that you cannot drive effectively. They threw all kinds of curve balls, things jump out in front of you, and the person on the phone is talking in a real distracting way to you, and you weren't supposed to be able to do anything driving-wise while talking.

I was the one media person who aced the driving test while I was holding a phone up to my ear. I think it is because I'm just really, really used to multitasking. I have no problem talking and driving.

Now, texting is another deal. I'm all for the texting jammers now. I have no problem with that now because no human being can text and drive successfully without putting themselves and the people on the road with them in jeopardy. That is a plague on our society.

But anyway, (Tuesday) morning I'm coming into work, right at the top of the hill here on Roanoke, and I'm waiting at a stoplight and a Seattle police officer is just turning at this light and he's got his cell phone pressed up against his ear.

My question is: If the reason we can't use our cell phones, holding it up to our ear, is because our lawmakers have decided that is so much more dangerous than hands free, then why can the cops?

I know that cops can multitask because they have their onboard computers in their cars and they're typing things in. Cops are good multitaskers. But you know what, so are a lot of us.

The standard should have been ... that if you're on your cell phone and you're weaving in your lane, then you're one of those people who can't handle talking and driving. So give them a ticket for weaving in their lane.

But my point is, if they've decided hands-free is so much safer, if they've determined that, why don't we hold the cops to the same standards? Why is there an exemption for police officers in using their cell phones when I see cops all the time holding their phones up to their ears?

Also in the news this week, is that members of the state legislature can get out of speeding tickets here in Washington if they claim they're on the way to do some legislative business.

Between cops using cell phones and legislators not getting speeding tickets - we've got to get away from treating our politicians differently than everybody else.

The whole point of this grand experiment here in America was that we would actually be led by people who were citizen politicians. They were just like us. We don't have a monarchy. We tried to get away from that. We tried to get away from the king.

But today, we've got a ruling class that is separate from all of us and that's not the way it should be, is it?

Editor's Note:
Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.61.667 says:
(1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, a person operating a moving motor vehicle while holding a wireless communications device to his or her ear is guilty of a traffic infraction.
(2) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to a person operating:
(a) An authorized emergency vehicle, or a tow truck responding to a disabled vehicle;
(b) A moving motor vehicle using a wireless communications device in hands-free mode;
(c) A moving motor vehicle using a hand-held wireless communications device to:
(i) Report illegal activity;
(ii) Summon medical or other emergency help;
(iii) Prevent injury to a person or property; or
(iv) Relay information that is time sensitive between a transit or for-hire operator and that operator's dispatcher, in which the device is permanently affixed to the vehicle;
(d) A moving motor vehicle while using a hearing aid.

Related:
State lawmakers can avoid speeding tickets if caught on their way to Olympia

JS

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