Port Saint Lucie, FL — A rather disturbing video was submitted to the Free Thought Project showing a St. Lucie Police Officer driving his car whilst watching a football game. Florida law prohibits the use of electronic devices while driving
Florida law prohibits the use of electronic devices while driving. However, police and emergency personnel are exempted from this law if, and only if, they are using them for official business while carrying out their duties. A cop watching a football game while driving down the street is anything but 'official'.
The video below was taken Wednesday night by a source who wishes to remain anonymous. Our source tells TFTP that they witnessed the officer watching a football game on his computer while driving down US1 near Port Street. When the two crossed paths, she pulled out her phone and began filming.
As our source notes:
The police vehicle was a car length or two ahead of me as we approached and through the back windows i could see the bright screen and movement which caught my attention as its unusal in a police car. I pulled up adjacent to his vehicle in the far left lane as he was in the far right lane. I could very clearly see a football game being watched, and thought to myself, that's not right..I made the decision to record in hopes of finding out if something had changed in terms of distracted driving rules as my understanding is its illegal and warrants a ticket.
When the light turned green, our source — not wanting to break the law — put her phone away. However, she noted that the game watching continued.
I stopped recording as the light turns green and caught just the beginning of the police cars movement. I drove alongside this car for the next half mile and the video continued to play and the officer continued to watch.
As TFTP recently reported, police across the country are cracking down on distracted driving. The charge of “driving under the influence” used to only apply to drivers who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol—but it will now apply to drivers who text, eat, smoke, read or groom while driving in the state of Washington.
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The implementation of the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act was expedited from January 2019 to July 23 after Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a partial-veto, and insisted that “public safety is better served by implementing this bill this year.”
“When you are driving with a cell phone, you are a more dangerous driver than if you are driving drunk with a .08 blood alcohol level,” Inslee said during a press conference. “There’s hardly anything we’ve done in the last several years at the state Capitol to save more lives than this distracted driving law.”
If a cellphone is that dangerous, how deadly is watching a football game?
As TFTP has reported in the past, unfortunately, police officers die in the line of duty every year. However, only a small percentage of those deaths are from people attacking them. The major cause of death of police officers in the United States is from traffic accidents.
A study of just a single police department in Denver found that over the course of three years, 700 cops were involved in crashes. Of those 700 crashes, the majority of the time it was the officer's fault. However, almost none of them are ever cited.
This above the law mentality coupled with irresponsible practices has created a dangerous environment for both police officers and the innocent civilians who all too often find themselves on the receiving end of a police cruiser's front bumper. Until officers are held accountable for their dangerous actions — like unit 146 of the Port St. Lucie PD — then we can only expect this problem to get worse.
The Free Thought Project contacted the Port St. Lucie police department to let them know about the video and ask if they were going to take any action. We have not yet received a response.