Last year, apparently on August 7,1 the BID Patrol drove one of their BIDmobiles eastbound on the 6300 block of Homewood Avenue. The driver of the vehicle, holding a Kodak Playsport Video Camera, Zx5, filmed the north side of the street as he drove the vehicle. You can watch the whole video here.
One huge problem with this scenario is that, as you can see from the image of the camera, Kodak Playsports have a video monitor that shows what’s being recorded.2 Now, take a look at California Vehicle Code section 27602, which plainly states:
A person shall not drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driver’s seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.
That’s the law they’re breaking. And distracted driving, driving with electronic devices in hand, is, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, really, really dangerous. That’s why it’s illegal and why no one should do it. Here’s how dangerous the DOT says it is:
Distracted driving kills. The friends, family, and neighbors of the thousands of people killed each year in distracted driving crashes will tell you it is a very serious safety problem. The nearly half a million people injured each year will agree.
And here’s what our friends at Wikipedia have to say about this kind of behavior; it’s reckless endangerment:
A person commits the crime of reckless endangerment if the person recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person. “Reckless” conduct is conduct that exhibits a culpable disregard of foreseeable consequences to others from the act or omission involved. The accused need not intentionally cause a resulting harm. The ultimate question is whether, under all the circumstances, the accused’s conduct was of that heedless nature that made it actually or imminently dangerous to the rights or safety of others.
Oh, sure though, maybe some of you are thinking that law’s not about cop-wannabe security guards making weirdo surveillance videos, it’s about watching porn while you drive or some such nonsense. But first, laws are about what they say, not about what they were meant to be about. Also, look at this interesting case where a lady got a ticket for violating this law while wearing Google Glass which was not even turned on based on its video recording and display capability. Glass is hands-free, so how much worse is this Kodak gizmo, eh?
And if your job is to drive around Hollywood arresting hundreds of people a year for breaking minor laws whose only purpose is to allow you to arrest them, it’s not only dangerous to break the law, it’s really, really, really hypocritical. And not only is it really hypocritical that this BID Patrol officer drives around Hollywood breaking the law, it’s surely a violation of the Andrews International company car policy. I don’t have a copy of this yet, but I don’t need it to make the claim. The contract that A/I signed with the BID requires them to insure their vehicles. State law requires them to insure their vehicles. There’s not a commercial vehicle policy in this country that doesn’t require employers to require employees not to break the law while they’re driving company cars. So whichever anonymous BID Patrol officer was driving and making videos was not just breaking the law, he was breaking the rules. He’s not fired, though, or even disciplined, and that’s just got to be a violation of A/I’s insurance policy. Finally, isn’t it interesting that A/I’s contract with the BID requires annual driver safety training?3 I guess this guy slept through it.
Image of reckless driving by the BID Patrol is a public record. Image of the Kodak Playsport is a screenshot from the user’s manual and appears here under a claim of fair use.
- Although it’s not entirely clear, as there doesn’t seem to be any mention of this incident in the daily activity logs.
- I know that all modern video cameras have this, what’s your point?
- At page 20.