The Ins and Outs of Traffic Tickets

Almost every driver has experienced the dreaded traffic ticket at some point or another. No sooner do you accelerate on the highway than you see the flashing lights and siren behind you indicating a wrong-doing. A momentary lapse of good judgment should not, however, tarnish your clean driving record. Knowing how to fight a traffic ticket will ensure that you don’t pay excess fines or get your license taken away.

It is extremely important to remember to always respect the law; never get angry with the officer or start arguing with them, as this will only get you further into trouble. Be sure to directly answer all of the officer’s questions in a courteous and polite manner. Do not exit your vehicle unless they ask you to.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that you should not openly admit your guilt or try and come up with unbelievable stories or excuses. Let the officer explain your infraction and if they ask if you know what you did, answer with a simple, “No, I don’t.” For a speeding offense, be sure that they inform you of what speed you were going and what the limit is in the area.

The name and badge number of the officer will be listed on the ticket, but it can sometimes be unreadable, especially if they have bad handwriting. Be sure to ask them for this information and write it down for yourself, as you will need it for when you go to court. You will also need to ask them detailed and specific questions about the device they used to determine your speed or other infraction and where they were located. For speeding, check for clearly marked signs; if there are none then be sure to take videos or pictures to further prove your case in court.

The officer may come to the conclusion that because you are being so thorough with your questions, that the case may get dismissed, and it is not worth the effort of showing up in court. They do not get paid for court dates and hearings, and many of them would rather be spending time with loved ones or friends anyway. If they do not appear, your case is automatically dismissed.

Your case can still be won, though, even if the officer does show up. The judge may consider all of your evidence and dismiss the case altogether or lessen the fine that you must pay. For more serious offenses, it may be worthwhile hiring an attorney. There are also companies that are comprised of former police officers that give you advice and tips on how to proceed in court. You will have to decide for yourself if spending money on this type of assistance is needed.

Knowledge is power, and gathering every detail possible is paramount to proving your case, whether or not you hire anyone to help you. Immediately after receiving your ticket, file a motion of discovery. This will let you know exactly what you are being charged with, and what type of evidence will be used against you.

Volunteering for traffic school may also be a way for you to get your offense lessened or dismissed completely. Not all areas offer this, so be sure to check with your local jurisdiction. There is a great benefit to receiving a refresher course and can help to prevent future tickets and fines. Knowing how to fight a traffic ticket could be as simple as preventing one in the first place. Fight your Florida Traffic Ticket now, 954-967-9888 http://www.TrafficTicketTeam.com

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Any Drugs While Driving Can Get You Arrested

Whether it’s cold medicine, cough syrup, a legal prescription drug or alcohol, if you ingest too much and drive a vehicle, you can be charged with driving under the influence. “Even if someone is taking prescription drugs legally, they can be charged with DUI,” said Sgt. Kim Montes, spokeswoman for the Florida Highway Patrol district that includes Volusia County. “If a trooper evaluates someone, either on a traffic stop or at a crash scene, and determines they are impaired from alcohol, illegal or legal drugs, or another substance, they can be arrested.” The FHP recently charged a man with DUI manslaughter in an Orlando case because they believe he had inhaled computer cleaner, Montes said. Toxicology reports, which reveal the presence of substances in the blood that can lead to impairment, can take several months to complete, said FHP Lt. Bill Leeper. He noted authorities are awaiting toxicology results in at least one Flagler County crash involving serious injuries. The Friends Drive Sober organization devotes a section of its website to prescription and over-the-counter drugs and their effect on drivers. “Drugs impair our bodies in a variety of ways,” the site reads. “They may blur our vision; make us tired or too excited; alter depth perception; make us see or hear things that may not be there; raise or lower blood pressure; react too quickly, too slowly, or not at all. They cause problems with concentrating on the task at hand.”  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifically lists cough and cold medications containing dextromethorphan as one of the most commonly misused over-the-counter drugs, “to get high.” “The pivotal issue when it comes to controlled substances is impairment,” said Chris Kelly, spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office. The short answer, he said, as to whether a person is guilty of driving under the influence depends on two things: the impaired individual is in control of the vehicle and, per state statute, “that the person’s normal faculties are impaired.” It’s up to the discretion of law enforcement to determine whether a driver should undergo testing and whether a breath or blood test is requested. “If we have an idea of what types of drugs they may be taking, then we can ask for that drug to be specifically tested,” Montes said. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement runs a panel for all controlled substances when blood is drawn, said spokeswoman Susie Murphy. “We don’t typically test for huffing (inhaled) agents,” Murphy said. “We don’t test for over-the-counter drugs at all.” But that doesn’t mean a person can’t be charged with DUI for taking over-the-counter medication.  “If someone were to ingest enough over-the-counter medicine, they could also be arrested forDUI if it is determined that they are impaired,” Montes said. So if you get in a situation you need legal help, please call the Traffic Ticket Team at 954-967-9888 or go to our site, www.TrafficTicketTeam.com Diamond, Kistner & Diamond, P.A.

Speeding Cameras. What’s Next!

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Traffic Ticket Team Fight Back

Everyone knows that speed cameras work. They create the discipline of a lissom lady in leather and make sure everyone understands just what the rules are. In fact, some people are so in awe of speed cameras’ discipline that they develop speed camera phobia and try to steer clear of them whenever possible. This being a troubled world, there are those who believe that these marvels of technology are merely there to make money for local authorities. So what can these troubled people say to the fact that Arizona has removed their cameras because it couldn’t make them pay? Well, they could say that Arizonans simply weren’t too keen on paying their tickets. Now, though, speed camera technology is going a little further. My heart began to chug beyond all speed limits when I read  that there are new speed cameras, ones that don’t merely check your speed. This astounding conjunction of art, technology, and justice–known as Asset (Advanced Safety and Driver Support for Essential Road Transport)–is so packed with gizmos that it can discover you are breaking a multitude of laws all at the same time. Yes, Asset can check whether you’re insured, whether you’re wearing your seat belt, whether you’re too close to the car  in front. It can even check whether your hands are in the correct 3:40pm position currently recommended in many states. Oh, I’m not entirely sure about that last one. But I am sure your veins are already pulsating at the idea of a speed camera that could, potentially, issue three or four tickets to you at once. Asset is currently being tested in Finland. So one can only wonder whether these speed cameras will be able to detect alcohol levels emerging with drivers’ breath, as Finland has a long and interesting history with alcohol consumption.The Asset mechanism is really quite simple. It takes a multitude of pictures and wafts them back by satellite to a large central database. Think of it as a real-time Google search of your car. The Mail suggests that these fine machines–you know, machines that issue fines–will be in service across Europe by 2013. I know that many who live outside of Europe’s confines will already be booking their trips in anticipation of such a large and speedy step forward for civilization. But if you get a traffic ticket in Florida, call the Traffic Ticket Team to Fight Back for you. Our attorneys have handled over one million traffic tickets. So don’t hire a random ticket clinic lawyer, hire a Team. That is, call the Traffic Ticket Team, 954-967-9888

 

 

DMV System Crashes, Long Lines to Get Your License

Traffic Ticket lawyer Intermittent outages of the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles mainframe servers have led to system crashes at driver’s license offices across the state, making already long waits even longer for frustrated customers. ”All I’m doing is sitting here waiting,” said Jeff Gilman, who arrived at the DMV office on Military Trail at about noon Friday and was still waiting to be served four hours later, along with about 60 other people.  The system has been unstable since Nov. 3 and it has been declared it a critical situation, said Courtney Heidelberg, DMV’s deputy communications director. The problem has not been fixed yet, she said. Customers at DMV offices were already facing long waits because of tougher ID requirements for obtaining licenses since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Although Gilman said officials offered to let people make appointments to come back another day because of the sporadic outages, he said he was concerned he’d just run into the same problems again. The lengthy wait times were exacerbated at the Deerfield office because its two bathrooms were out of order most of the afternoon.  ”The bathroom backed up and the sewage came up out of the floor,” said Uranius Cruz, of Deerfield Beach, who arrived at the office at 11:30 a.m. and wasn’t finished until 3:45 p.m. Scott Vincent, of Margate, came to the Deerfield DMV office Friday after stopping by the Margate officefirst. ”The line was even longer in Coral Springs,” said Vincent, who arrived at 2:30 p.m. and planned to stay as late as necessary. Officials said anyone in line as of 5 p.m. would be seen. The Traffic Ticket Team is aware of the problem and trying to help people in a similar situation. If you get a traffic ticket, call the www.trafficticketteam.com, Jason Diamond, Diamond, Kistner & Diamond, 954-967-9888. Let us Fight your Traffic Ticket. Do not pay that traffic ticket, fight back.

 

She Wears Short Shorts… He Wears Baggy Shorts…

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If you’re headed to traffic court in California better leave the flip-flops at home. Have a court appearance in district court in Inkster, Mich.? Jeans are on the not-to-wear list. And don’t even think of wearing short shorts to court in Dover, Del. Judges in those jurisdictions and others across the USA are cracking down on skimpy, sloppy or what they consider inappropriate attire in an effort to maintain decorum and beef up security.  A provision in Delaware  that bars skirts shorter than 4 inches above the knee when standing “sounds like Catholic school,” says Timothy Fautsko, who advises courts on security issues for the National Center for State Courts. But, he says, the dress codes serve a purpose.

“I think it maintains order in the courtroom,” he says. Fautsko says some people seem determined to push the fashion envelope. “I had a report of one court that had an individual keep coming into court dressed like a clown,” he says. “Again, that pushes the dignity of the court.” Courts are a place where serious business is conducted, and that demands appropriate attire, says Delaware Superior Court Judge William Witham Jr. “We’re not out to treat people as school kids, but we do expect if you come to court, you need to treat it with the appropriate respect and dignity it should deserve due to the occasion,” he says. Among recent examples:

• In May, Jennifer LaPenta was jailed briefly after a judge in Lake County, Ill., held her in contempt for wearing an offensive T-shirt to court.

• In Inkster, Mich., Joseph Kassab was turned away in April from the courtroom for wearing black jeans. He missed his traffic court appearance and was fined, and he’s challenging the dress code in the state Court of Appeals.

• The same thing happened to Linda West, who missed her court date after being refused entry in June to court in Bakersfield, Calif., for wearing flip-flops.

• In July, in Hamilton County (Ohio) Municipal Court, William Morse’s T-shirt featuring slasher-movie character Chucky and the words “Say goodbye to the killer” earned Morse a warning that he’d spend a day in jail if he came to court again with inappropriate attire.

Though some attire may seem obvious choices to ban, other clothing can be a tougher call — and barring some attire can raise troubling questions about race, religion and access to justice, legal experts say. “It would seem inappropriate to have the security officers be the determiner unless it’s a safety issue … especially when the result could be they miss their court appearance and are subject to a penalty. That would be questionable,” says Micah J. Yarbrough, a professor at Widener University School of Law. Many dress codes single out baggy pants, particularly those that expose undergarments. That fashion began in the African-American community, says Holly Alford, an assistant professor in the department of fashion design and merchandising at Virginia Commonwealth University. Banning such attire is “almost like you’re making racial statements without actually saying it,” says Alford — who admits she pesters her son daily to pull up his pants. Fautsko says an increasing numbers of courts are adopting dress codes, and for security reasons some specify that faces be uncovered, posing problems for Muslim women wearing veils or burqas. That issue has come to the fore among judges and security personnel in the past six months, he says, adding that courts are “seeking some definitive direction on what to do, and what to do in a uniform manner, so it’s not different from court to court.”

A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says courts can follow the lead of the Transportation Security Administration and have a female officer take a Muslim woman to a private setting where she can remove her face covering. “There should be no issue for anyone entering a court with either a face veil or a head scarf,” Hooper says. Dress codes can play a role in public safety. For instance, gang-related clothing or gang colors could be used to intimidate witnesses in criminal cases. Dress codes pose few problems for defense attorneys, according to Brendan O’Neill, Delaware’s chief public defender. Most lawyers customarily advise clients about proper attire, he says, and many will supply garments to indigent clients. Gayle V. Fischer, a professor at Salem State University, has written extensively on the history of clothing and society. In her view, court dress codes are the product of a casual society and ignorance of court culture.A pajama-clad woman who was turned away from court in Delaware “probably wears that outfit to the grocery store,” Fischer says. “Dressing up, that’s something that you’re taught, and if you don’t live or participate in any of the arenas where you need to dress up, you probably just don’t think about it.

If you get caught speeding, you should call the Traffic Ticket Team, http://www.trafficticketteam.com, to fight your Florida Traffic Ticket. If you get a traffic ticket for anything, speeding, red light, DUI or anything else, call us anytime to fight your traffic ticket at 954-967-9888, Law Offices of Jason A. Diamond, P.A. and Diamond, Kistner & Diamond.

Sunrise Cops Have a Traffic Ticket Quota…

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Sunrise cops are expected to make a minimum of 45,612 traffic stops a year. (Michael Francis McElroy, Sun Sentinel /August 20, 2010)

Sunrise road patrol officers are expected to make at least three traffic stops a day, according to a complaint form on the officer filed in May. That means the city’s 84 road patrol officers have to make at least 45,864 stops a year, about half the city’s population.With Sunrise home to Sawgrass Mills  mall, a top tourist destination in South Florida, folks from all over are at risk of being pulled over and given a ticket. What it could cost you, on average: $200.

“The public thinks it’s a gotcha game and they are going to get you if they have to meet that quota,” said Bob Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Law School in Davie. Officers who meet the quota — referred to as “shift standards” by department brass — are in line for promotions, special assignments and raises, say union officials. Those who don’t risk a written reprimand, they say. The Sunrise police union does not condone quotas of any kind, said Roger Krege, union president.The officers making the traffic stops are “just following orders,” Krege said. Officers need to be able to make decisions without “external influences” from supervisors who demand a set number of stops per day. Chief John Brooks, who joined the department in June 2007, denied having a quota.”I don’t have a ticket quota and I don’t have an arrest quota,” Brooks said. “It’s not illegal, but it’s unethical.”

Capt. Robert Voss, who oversees the department’s road patrol officers, says supervisors need some way to measure performance. The number of daily traffic stops an officer makes helps gauge productivity, Voss said. “Those are guidelines for them to follow,” Voss said. “We have to have a way to measure what an officer is doing out there. The officers are making a lot of money. We want to make sure they’re working.” The standards apply only to the officers assigned to road patrol, Voss said, not to the department’s entire 172-member force.

Mayor Roger Wishner characterized the three-stops-a-day rule as community policing, where officers focus on certain neighborhoods to help reduce traffic accidents. “I don’t support a quota system, but I do want our officers out there enforcing traffic laws,” Wishner said. Deputy Mayor Sheila Alu also backs Brooks’ rule, in effect since July 2008. “I think he’s trying to keep the officers accountable,” Alu said. “He wants to make sure the officers are doing their jobs and performing.” From October 2008 through September 2009, Sunrise collected $431,200 in traffic fines and court costs, city records show. Sunrise has collected $352,000 in ticket money from October 2009 through early August.  In addition to the traffic stops, Sunrise officers are required to make three “Field Interrogation Card” reports each month — or 3,024 every year. Officers use the FIC reports to document suspicious activity — and to prove they are working, Sunrise police officials say. One officer has Voss wondering just what he could be doing his entire 11.5-hour shift. Bruce Charlton, a 21-year veteran who works the day shift, has been written up three times this year for failing to meet shift standards. In February, he had one traffic stop and no FI cards. In March, he had no traffic stops and one FI card. In April, he made seven traffic stops and wrote one FIC report. “I have personally given verbal warnings to Officer Charlton and have placed notes and copies of his stats in his shift file regarding his lack of productivity,” Sgt. Mark Hudson wrote in a May 17 complaint on the officer. “By failing to heed repeated supervisor warnings, Officer Charlton remains in violation of Department Policy and Procedure. Technically, Charlton was written up for disobeying an order. The order: To make more traffic stops and write more FI Cards. Charlton, 41, said this in his defense: “We have over 200 different responsibilities to perform during our shift and it’s not fair to the public’s safety or officers’ safety to pigeonhole our performance solely on traffic stops and FI Cards.

The other officers have to neglect their other duties for fear of discipline if they don’t meet the shift standards.” Traffic quotas may not be illegal in Florida but they are frowned on, said Bob Dekle, a law professor at the UF, “The problem you get into with quotas, every stop is open to public criticism,” he said. “The accusation is, ‘You did it because you had a quota to make, not because the person was doing something wrong.’ That’s why quotas are a bad idea.”  On the other hand, Dekle said he understands the dilemma for supervisors who want to make sure the rank and file are not sleeping on the job. “It shouldn’t be too hard for officers to make three traffic stops a day and three field interrogations a month,” Dekle said. “If the officer is not doing that, you have to wonder what he is doing.” Officials with the Broward Sheriff’s Office say the agency does not have quotas. The Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood police departments say the same. Fort Lauderdale does require its officers to meet “performance standards” to measure productivity, Sgt. Frank Sousa said. Officers are evaluated on the quantity of their work, but are not required to “write five tickets a day or make three arrests,” Sousa said. Nor are they required to conduct a set number of traffic stops or “Field Interrogation Cards,” he said. The Sun Sentinel reviewed 287 FI Cards written by Sunrise officers between June 19 and July 19. Subjects were questioned for many reasons — loitering, walking home, driving around “aimlessly,” sitting in a parked car at a shopping center after hours. Will Carrasco, a Plantation resident questioned by Sunrise police in June, was not surprised to hear of the shift standards.”It sounds like a quota to me,” Carrasco said. Carrasco, 27, and his brother-in-law were camped out in his car outside Sawgrass Mills about 3:30 a.m. June 19, hoping to be first in line to buy a new Jordan sneaker. “Three cops came up and said ‘What are you doing here?'” Carrasco recounted. “We were sitting in the car with snacks and water, minding our own business. I can’t really blame them. But I think sometimes they overdo it. Three of them showed up.”

If you get caught speeding, you should call the Traffic Ticket Team, http://www.trafficticketteam.com, to fight your Florida Traffic Ticket. If you get a traffic ticket for anything, speeding, red light, DUI or anything else, call us anytime to fight your traffic ticket at 954-967-9888, Law Offices of Jason A. Diamond, P.A. and Diamond, Kistner & Diamond.

Red Light Cameras Irresponsible

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According to the New Times of Broward, Red-light cameras, when misused by idiotic and irresponsible public officials, can be one of the great scourges of America.  ​That much is fact. Even when they are used with some semblance of jurisprudence, they might be flat-out illegal. We’ll just have to see how the court challenges turn out. But in the wrong hands, they can be downright evil. Check out this Miami Herald story on the poor people of Aventura — and all others who drive in that city — who are getting shaken down by their own government for hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars. Their “crime”: Rolling a red light on a right turn. You do it all the time even if you don’t know it. You come up on an intersection, see there’s no cars coming, and never quite come to a complete stop. In Aventura, this will get you a $125 fine for the first offense, $250 for the second, and a whopping $500 for each additional. It’s obscene, and making it worse is that if one of the cameras got installed at a red light near you, you could rack up multiple fines before you get the notice in the mail telling you did anything wrong in the first place. Responsible towns don’t do this. Pembroke Pines, which was the first city in Broward to install the cameras (send your thanks to Angelo Castillo), doesn’t do it. West Palm Beach did it for a while but then realized how grotesque it was. In May, WBP not only discontinued the practice but decided to refund all the money it generated from such fines back to the citizens who paid them. But some towns just don’t get it. Here’s the top of the Herald story: Jeff and Patricia Rudman have an unexpected $2,000 bill to pay. The Sunny Isles Beach clothing salesman came home from work to find his pregnant wife sobbing, holding several tickets for failing to come to a complete stop at a camera-monitored red light in Aventura. After a $125 ticket in the mail the previous day, five more — amounting to $1,875 more fines — were dropped in the mailbox that afternoon. All of them were for making only a rolling stop before a right turn at Aventura Boulevard and West Country Club Drive, nabbed by one of the red-light violation camera fast spreading throughout South Florida. And all were within a weeklong period. “Two-thousand dollars to anybody right now is a hit, and to us, with a third kid coming, it’s beyond. It’s just way too much,” Jeff Rudman said. Rudman is among a contingent of South Floridians who’ve received multiple tickets for red-light violations before they even knew they were breaking the rules. “We didn’t have a chance to learn what we did wrong,” he said. “I don’t think anybody in their right mind, knowing full well that the oven is hot, is going to put their hand in the oven. We didn’t get the opportunity to get burned the first time.” … City officials argue the law against running red lights has been on the books for decades, and drivers who break the law shouldn’t complain when they get caught. “That requirement that you come to a complete stop before turning right on red, it’s been a state law for many, many years,” said Joanne Carr, Aventura’s community development director. First off, Joanne Carr should be fired. Period. She obviously has no understanding of basic concepts like justice and fairness. Next every elected official in the town should be run out on a rail. Don’t pay these fines. Go to court and fight them. Judges, do your duty and dismiss the cases one after another until the derelict cities follow in West Palm Beach’s footsteps. If you get caught speeding, running a red light, stop sign or DUI, you should call the Traffic Ticket Team, http://www.trafficticketteam.com, to fight your Florida Traffic Ticket. If you get a traffic ticket for anything, speeding, red light, DUI or anything else, call us anytime to fight your traffic ticket at 954-967-9888, Law Offices of Jason A. Diamond, P.A. and Diamond, Kistner & Diamond.  Our attorney’s have handled over 1,000,000 traffic tickets so before you call some random ticket clinic to help you, call a Team of lawyers who handle every case as if was our own.

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Cop Writes Fake Traffic Tickets, Only in Florida.

Concern that a Florida Highway Patrol trooper accused of writing false traffic tickets may have more victims has prompted FHP to open a hot line number. “We have established a central hot line for people filing complaints in this case,” said FHP Maj. James G. Brierton, commander of Troop E, which is based in Dade.  The move comes after a revelation on Tuesday that Trooper Paul C. Lawrence, 38, had been arrested on 22 counts of official misconduct for writing the fake citations.  Already, 203 traffic citations that Lawrence issued since November have been dismissed.  But prosecutors think there might more victims.  Those who believe they received a false citation from Lawrence can call 305-470-2525.  In each case, Lawrence is accused of using information from drivers whom he had previously stopped. Then he manufactured new charges. The citations were not signed by the drivers.  The 22 counts are related to eight specific incidents this winter, according to the arrest affidavit.  Prosecutors said Lawrence started writing the false tickets to boost the number of citations he was reporting to his bosses.  In November alone, he submitted 397 citations to FHP — 82 of them missing a signature.  An FHP spokesman said FHP does not use a quota system.  Supervisors noticed something wrong in November when in one day five motorists called to complain they were being solicited by traffic ticket teams for citations, although they had not been stopped or ticketed by FHP.  An investigation was launched that showed an unusually large number of Lawrence’s citations were not signed by the alleged violators.  Lawrence, an FHP trooper for 15 years, has been placed on administrative duty “pending termination.”

28 Cops Gone Bad in Broward County

28 Broward Cops Under Investigation by the State Attorney’s Office Alu Strikes Again; Threatens To Overturn Untold Number of Cases. State Attorney Sheila Alu is at it again and this time her work threatens to throw the courthouse for a real loop. Sheila Alu Assistant State Attorney Alu has delivered to the Public Defenders Office a list of 28 police under investigation by her bosses at the State Attorney’s Office or internal affairs officers of their own departments. The list could throw into question an untold number of criminal cases, past and present. It could overturn trials. “This notice is a notice that the State Attorney has evidence that indicates because of conduct of the police, a client could be innocent,” Public Defender Howard Finkelstein says. “This could be very, very big. It raises a number of questions for our clients,” Finkelstein says. “We just don’t know the ramifications yet.” The Public Defender’s Office has assigned a team of lawyers to research Alu’s documents. They are scrambling to see whether the cops are involved in cases against their clients. Finkelstein says in his 32 years as a lawyer, he has never seen a prosecutor reveal so many cops under investigation at once. “I’ve seen maybe two or three (notices about two or three individual cops) in 32 years,” says Finkelstein. Finkelstein says the document has no explanation of what the officers are being investigated for or even information about when the investigation took place. He also says he doesn’t know what prompted Alu to deliver the notice to one of his assistant public defenders. “Maybe she just wants to do what’s right,” Finkelstein says. “What I am concerned about is that why haven’t we gotten these notices for the past 32 years?”

Teens, Texting & Driving

Half of U.S. teens with cell phones admit talking on them while driving and a third say they’ve written text messages while they were at the wheel, according to a report released Monday. According to the study by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C, which surveyed 800 teens up to age 17:

* 75 percent of teens have a cell phone, and more than half of them say they have talked on their cell phone while driving.

* 40 percent say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone “in a way that put themselves or others in danger.”

* 48 percent of teens say they have been in a car when the driver was texting.

* More than one-third of teens ages 16 or 17 who text say that have texted while driving.

Peter Andros, 16, of Maitland said he’s aware that some friends have had close calls while driving and texting. “It’s a problem, no question,” he said.

Peter was in Longwood on Saturday taking a driving lesson with Florida Safety Council instructor Victoria Mooney, who’s also a Seminole County deputy sheriff and a school resource officer.  “It’s frightening,” Mooney said. “There are so many other distractions on the road anyway.” Not long ago, she watched a motorist drive up on a curb while texting.  “The focus needs to be on the road,” she said. “Just using a cell phone is bad enough, and now texting — it just has no place while you’re driving.” With teens, distracted driving holds a particular threat, she said. “Young drivers don’t have enough experience to know better. So many of them have to learn the hard way.”

The study contained some troubling comments from the teenagers surveyed. One high-schooler said he thinks texting while driving is “fine,” adding “I wear sunglasses so the cops don’t see [his eyes looking down].” A girl said that her “sister does it, despite my mother’s warnings. So does my brother and my friends despite my warnings.”they made distinctions between reading texts while driving, and actually typing out the answers. “And if I do text while I’m driving,” said one teen, “I usually try to keep the phone up near the windshield, so if someone is braking in front of me or stops short, I’m not going to be looking down and hit them.”  The Pew study was released in advance of a workshop on distracted driving that the Federal Communications Commission plans to hold on Friday in Washington. Industry experts, members of government and the public will participate. If you get caught texting while driving, call Jason Diamond at the Traffic Ticket Team, http://www.trafficticketteam.com or email Attorney@trafficticketteam.com 954-967-9888.