Don’t Text And Drive — Even At A Red Light!

An alert — and now $175 poorer — “06880” reader writes:

The other day I got a $175 ticket while sitting at a red light for entering an address on Waze on my phone.

I had no idea it was against the law to check your phone at a red light. The officer was very nice, and I mentioned to him that I felt like specific cell phone usage laws aren’t well publicized.

I know you can’t text and drive, and it makes sense you shouldn’t check your phone at a light either. I just didn’t know.

I have no idea whose job it is to publicize driving cell phone rules, but no one I mentioned this to had any idea you couldn’t check your phone or enter an address in Waze at a red light.

I’m curious if this is well known. Or maybe I’m just an idiot.

Texting while driving is illegal — even at a red light.

27 responses to “Don’t Text And Drive — Even At A Red Light!

  1. John Backiel

    People use Snap Chat a lot while driving. They’ll take an eight second video while driving and send it.

  2. I honestly had no idea, and I do it all the time. Thank you and sorry you had to teach us all this lesson because of your own experience!

  3. If you get a phone carrier for the dashboard you can actually speak into waze and avoid being hit with that huge fine.

  4. Matthew Mandell

    If you pull over to text, I believe you must shut off your engine. If its running, it’s the same as being at a stop light. I think making a phone call too from the side of the road with the engine on is also still an offense. Crazy right?

    • Marius Kuokalas

      What about European cars with auto shut off options once you stop? Are you ok to check your phone since your engine is off?

  5. I didn’t know that either but I guess it is safer for all. I know a lot of people do it because I have had to lightly beep the person in front of me at a light quite often.

  6. Trisha Graves

    Distracted driving in CT is ANY non driving activity. No phones, coffee, water, Crackers ( I am guilty here) etc. I would say that is good advice
    For the Post Road for sure. Be Safe….

    • Is drinking water while driving (or at a stop light) illegal? I do it all the time. Since I don’t have an iPhone I can’t plead guilty to the other offenses.

  7. Susan Israel

    Ouch! I was once stopped for doing that, the officer was cool about it, gave me directions and no ticket. I still do it if I’m lost. Only at a red light if I can’t pull over.) People do worse things at red lights (or while driving for that matter) I think I have built-in “copdar” though. I’m sorry you got busted, Dan 🙁

  8. Jalna Jaeger

    I too have done that, no more.

  9. Susan Reilly

    I didn’t know either. I do this a lot. Thanks!!

  10. Susan Israel

    Oops. No coffee yet. Reading comprehension suffers. I’m glad you DIDN’T get busted. 🙂

  11. Of course, you shouldn’t be distracted (for any reason) while driving, I’m shocked there aren’t more accidents. BUT This issue comes as a surprise; at a red light while you are stopped (what about changing radio stations on your dash, it that illegal too)? Some of the other comments are guesses about what you can & can’t do. What this makes clear is few seem to know what the law says. I would like to see the actual words of the law/rules. (I’m clear you shouldn’t be texting while driving, you don’t need a law to explain to me why someone could die). If there is anyone who has a copy of the law could you please post it? Thank You

  12. Yes, I found the same thing out in Jan 2012 trying to find a Super Bowl gathering. Sitting at a red light is NOT ok. When I fought the ticket the ADA for Bridgeport Court said keys in the ignition on the side of a road was no good either. Use bluetooth hands free or park on side of road with keys on floor.

  13. I think it depends on the state. For example in New York I believe the law against using a phone is while the car is in “motion.” There are so many gray areas. Many cars have built-in navigation that allow address entry even while the car is in motion. That is just as dangerous as plugging an address into Waze. Waze at least recognizes the motion and asks if you’re the passenger before allowing entry. Officers also use discretion when deciding to ticket someone – eg driving 5 miles over the limit vs 20.

  14. The issue I have is people using their phones while stopped at a light and not noticing when the light changes! This is particularly annoying when in a turning lane, the arrow turns green and the lead car doesn’t move, in enough time for the line-up of cars behind, to get through the light. Whatever the law, please be aware of the other motorists around you.

  15. I don’t know what the exact language of the law is but, if it prohibits texting even while stopped at a red light, I can understand that. I can’t begin to count how many times the light has turned green and the car directly in front of me just sits there. (By the way, what is the etiquette about how many seconds you should wait before honking?)

    I did not have anywhere near the number of red-light-turning-green delays in the pre-texting/smartphone era.

    • John Backiel

      I’d be richer than Bill Gates if Ihad a penny for every time I had to blow my horn at a light because the person in front of me was on their phone!

    • Bill Boyd Staples 66

      I think a warning for this at a red light might be appropriate….that said…I think texting WHILE DRIVING should be a 6 month’s suspension and a $1,000 fine first offense…double for the second. Talking on hand held half that. No mercy….. Hang up and drive.

  16. Hands free controls WAZE.

    To setup voice activation with Waze, first open the app and go into Settings. Select “Sound & Voice” and then “Talk to Waze.” Finally, toggle on “Listen for OK Waze.” Then next time you say “OK Waze,” the app will respond so you never have to take your hands off the wheel using voice commands in Waze can help keep your eyes on the road by enabling you to start navigation, report traffic conditions, and more using only your voice.
    I only have one question? If Waze can hear me asking for directions can Waze hear me singing off key in my car while driving😁🙈

  17. Here is a link to the Connecticut law:

    • Thank You Dan.
      So, since my radio is not handheld I can keep playing with it all I want and not be ticketed.

  18. who knew? >

  19. Noel Castiglia

    Good information.. But I never text much. Especially in a vehicle. Driving or not.

  20. Calling it “texting while driving” doesn’t help, there are plenty of people who will think “I’m not texting, this is Instagram/Facetime/Snapchat!” 😉 It’s “interacting with a device.”

    They need to change the law to make it legal pull over to a safe space, put it in park, and interact with your device. The idea that you can’t do that with the car running is absurd.

  21. Deborah Green

    I think the DMV should inform drivers when renewing their licenses of all regulations regarding cell-phone use and seat belt use in back seats. Those of us who got our licenses long before the advent of cell phones need to be informed of these regulations.