Innovative/Controversial Approach to Distracted Driving Enforcement

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 28-Oct-2015

Picture of Salvatore J. Zambri

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner

As I have blogged many times over the years, distracted driving caused by cell phone use and texting is a serious danger on the highways. Efforts to create stronger enforcement requirements and punishments seem to have had minimal impact on drivers who insist on continuing their routine of texting and driving. Recently, Montgomery County, Maryland, police began an innovative and somewhat controversial approach to catching drivers texting. As recently reported in the Washington Post and other local newspapers, “a plain-clothes officer disguised as a homeless person with a cardboard sign radioed ahead to three more officers, waiting in uniform down the road, each time he spotted a driver using a cell phone or otherwise breaking the rules of the road.” Numerous traffic citations and warnings were issued during the two hours that the program was in effect.

Response from drivers ranged widely, with praise from drivers who have witnessed distracted driving collisions and near-collisions caused by phone use continuing in spite of laws against it. Many commenters from the Post’s article indicated a belief that police need to do something drastic to discourage drivers from recklessly phoning or texting while driving. On the other hand, a surprising number of drivers criticized the approach as being disrespectful to homeless people and causing a traffic slowdown by disrupting drivers in order to generate income for the county.

Listed below are several resources designed to educate drivers regarding cell phone use and driving:

Numerous studies and statistics in recent years about distracted driving have shown how dangerous distracted driving is. Although there is no federal law restricting cell phone use and driving, almost every state now has some regulation against the practice. In this particular situation, the Montgomery County police came up with an idea of how to catch drivers “in the act.” Whether you are in favor of this county’s sting or not, we can agree that measures need to be put in place to deter distracted driving.

Please drive safely and sensibly. No call or text is worth killing or injuring yourself or someone else.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association recently named him "Trial Lawyer of the Year". Super Lawyers recently named him among the "Top Ten" lawyers in the Metro Area (out of more than 80,000 attorneys). He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 100″ lawyers in the entire metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best-most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners. His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA. Mr. Zambri has also been acknowledged as one of "The Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers (2014 edition) and has been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (2014) - national publications that honor the top lawyers in America.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at or call him at 202-822-1899.

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