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Transportation Idle

German Police Stop Man With Mobile Office In Car 146

Posted by timothy
from the so-what's-the-trouble-officer? dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes "Forget texting while driving. German police say they nabbed a driver who had wired his Ford station wagon with an entire mobile office. Saarland state police said Friday the 35-year-old man was pulled over for doing 130 kph (80 mph) in a 100 kph zone while passing a truck Monday. Built on a wooden frame on his passenger seat they found a laptop on a docking station tilted for easy driver access, a printer, router, wireless internet stick, WLAN antenna, and an inverter to power it all." I've driven some long trips with a similar passenger-seat setup (minus the printer), but of course for use only while stopped. Since the police in this case had no evidence that the rig was being used while driving, the driver was ticketed only for speeding and for having unsecured items. Really, it seems like something that Skymall should offer in neater form; now I regret not picking up a surplus police cruiser computer when they were in stock at the local Goodwill.
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German Police Stop Man With Mobile Office In Car

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Are the editors deliberately trying to drive Slashdot into the brink of nothingness? The amount of non stories, flame/click-bait and one sided "articles" is staggering. I wish there was an alternative site with the quality of comments Slashdot do have at times, to at least keep editors on their toes.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @04:40AM (#42010745)

    I didn't realize Germany had speed limits on its highways.

    • Parts of German *freeways* have speed limits. Large parts of German freeways have no set speed limits, but you will be fined for irresponsible driving and insurance claims will be hard(er) to get paid. German highways are speed limited. By the way, there is no mention that this happened on a highway or freeway in the article. This may have happened on either of them.
      • Perhaps you should be using German names here. I'm really not versed in the road systems of world's countries, but I'm probably not the only one who - on the basis of having a third (neither American nor German) entirely different system in my country - fails to see the exact difference between a "freeway" and a "highway", not to mention the fact that whatever the difference between the two is in the US is probably different from the difference between the two in Germany.
        • by hutsell (1228828) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @08:12AM (#42011309) Homepage

          Perhaps you should be using German names here. I'm really not versed in the road systems of world's countries, but I'm probably not the only one who - on the basis of having a third (neither American nor German) entirely different system in my country - fails to see the exact difference between a "freeway" and a "highway", not to mention the fact that whatever the difference between the two is in the US is probably different from the difference between the two in Germany

          Fwiw, in America, there is a formal framework for naming conventions, (the ideal not being implemented is another issue). The conventions are based upon interruptions from cross traffic and the number of lanes (in each direction) both additionally affecting the limitations on speed. I don't know anything about the German system, other than the legendary limitlessness of the Autobahn.

          Freeways (65 mph || 109 kph) are "free" of cross traffic (having nothing to do with tolls). Probably the same as the Turnpikes on the East Coast. (ymmv.)
          Highways (55 mph || 92 kph) can have cross traffic, but the intersection always gives the highway the right of way -- cars crossing are required to stop first before proceeding. (ymmv.)
          Expressways (45 mph || 75 kph) have traffic control lights at each intersection. (ymmv.)
          Access to all three are fixed by design and prevents anyone from stopping for any reason other than an emergency. (ymmv.)
          The exception is the Interstate (Federal) freeway's planned rest stops that can be accessed only to and from the freeway. (ymmv.)

          "Roads" outside municipalities (you know them as towns or cities) are an extension of a street leaving or entering the city limits and can have any type of intersection or any type of restriction for stopping to access roadside commerce -- basically a combination of a highway and a expressway, becoming more informal as it becomes more rural. (There's further naming rules within the municipality for Avenues, Boulevards, Streets, Lanes, Courts, how many lanes allowed each way and how all of this affects speeds -- unrelated to this post.)

          Some Interstate freeways have recently increased speed limits and can be at 70, 75 or in some cases, such as in Texas, 80 (mph || 134 kph); if it's posted as such. Otherwise, the speed limits mentioned are in affect.

          If it's posted with the higher speed, it will probably say "Maximum Speed" instead of "Speed Limit". There's a difference. It's important, especially if you want to avoid a speeding ticket. For example: If you're going with the flow of traffic at 72 mph in a 65 mph "Speed Limit" zone, it's supposedly okay. If you're going 76 mph in a 75 mph "Maximum Speed" zone, it supposedly doesn't matter what the speed of the traffic flow is doing. Ymmv.

          • Some Interstate freeways have recently increased speed limits and can be at 70, 75 or in some cases, such as in Texas, 80 (mph || 134 kph

            Texas has recently opened a section of road with a speed limit of 85 (mph || 137kph) [slashdot.org]. Minor correction to the quoted section above. For any nations using metric (I'm looking at you, entire world), 80mph is approximately 129kph, not 134kph.

          • by Lumpy (12016)

            Access to all three are fixed by design and prevents anyone from stopping for any reason other than an emergency or outright stupidity...

            In america, most emergency stops happen on the very wide shoulders. Everything else happens because of the complete morons that have ZERO drivers training in the middle of the freaking road. Like the morons with the giant pickup trucks that are in the fast lane and STOP in the fast lane to use the service road turnaround because they are too lazy or stupid to go to the

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            I got a ticket for speeding up to pass someone who sped up while I was passing him (isn't _that_ illegal? but no one ever seems to get ticketed for THAT shit) in a max speed zone. The officer also wrote me for even faster than I was doing, what a fucking piece of shit. This is a mild example of why people hate cops. (People who live in the inner city and have had a friend or family member murdered by one in cold blood, who then got away with it, have much better reasons.)

            All over the US the rules for freewa

          • by dfm3 (830843)

            If it's posted with the higher speed, it will probably say "Maximum Speed" instead of "Speed Limit". There's a difference.

            I'm curious where you get this and what exactly the distinction is, because I've driven all over North America (50 states, 8 provinces, and Mexico) and have never seen this in the US. In the States, the only signs I've ever noticed are ones that state "speed limit n", while similar signs in Canada use the word "maximum". I've always assumed this was simply a difference in word choice. I've seen cities such as Atlanta which set a "minimum" speed limit on certain roads, so I wonder if posting a maximum speed

            • by hutsell (1228828)

              Just in case it wasn't obvious to someone interested, the other reply to the parent was also my reply that was mistakenly posted as AC (#42020027).

      • by drkim (1559875)

        ...German highways are speed limited. By the way, there is no mention that this happened on a highway or freeway in the article. This may have happened on either of them.

        "...Saarland State police stopped on the autobahn..."

    • Some are unrestricted, but many are limited to 120kph for certain stretches. Also, the speed limits change (they're put up on big LED displays hanging over the highway) depending on traffic and weather conditions...

  • I'm sure people get stopped regularly with 50" flatscreen TV's on the passenger seat, as part of regular traffic checks, speeding etc. But as the article states:

    Since there was no evidence he used the office while moving, (..)

    .. police did the only possible correct thing, and gave him a ticket for driving 130 kph in a 100 kph zone.

    /Me wonders where this guy parks his car - seems like a setup like that is just screaming: "Hey car thief! Please break my window & grab laptop + other office gear!". :-)

  • There are numerous options for dash-mounting or floorboard-mounting tablets and laptops available on Ebay and other internet sites and there are plenty of legitimate reasons for doing so. Many auto-insurance adjusters operate "mobile claims" vehicles that are equiped with the ability to print and prccess claims right at the spot of the accident. Their are many jobs such as home health care providers where employees spend more time in a vehicle or away from an actual office space. The ability to scan and sen

    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:33AM (#42010893)

      Is this really so uncommon in Germany that it warrants a news story?

      In Germany, when you are driving a car, you are supposed to be . . . well, driving. And not texting, adjusting your make-up, fixing paper jams or spilling your hot coffee on yourself so that you can sue McDonald's. A driver may only use a cell phone if the car has a Freisprecheinrichtung (speaker phone) installed.

      In the picture, the laptop on the dashboard suspiciously looks like it was installed to be used while driving. So the guy could check his email or use video chat while moving. If the setup had looked like it was only meant to be used while parked, the cops wouldn't have had any problem with it. But since there isn't any law prohibiting such a setup, the cops couldn't charge him. However, it looked like the laptop on the dashboard would obstruct his view. For that, they might have been able to ticket him.

      So I would just say that his setup raises a few eyebrows. I suspect that the guy was some sort of traveling salesman who was on the road all day, and it was very convenient for him to have a full car office. But to use it while driving? Well, the cops probably gave him a harsh warning about that.

      • by Stephan Schulz (948) <schulz@informatik.tu-muenchen.de> on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:12AM (#42011005) Homepage

        In Germany, when you are driving a car, you are supposed to be . . . well, driving. And not texting, adjusting your make-up, fixing paper jams or spilling your hot coffee on yourself so that you can sue McDonald's.

        Having driven both in Germany and in the US for quite extended distances, there often is a significant difference. Germany has a much higher population density, and that translates to a much higher traffic density. Moreover, the fact that there are different speed limits for different classes of vehicles (80km/h for trucks and most trailers, 100km/h for many buses and some trailers, unlimited or 120km/h for normal cars) leads to frequent lane changes and other manoeuvring. On the US50, I can just put a brick on the accelerometer, tie the wheel, and go to sleep (or email) for half an hour. Driving on the German Autobahn is often (though not always) more like driving in, say, inner-city Boston. If you are not reasonably alert, there is a high chance of an accident.

      • by julesh (229690)

        In the picture, the laptop on the dashboard suspiciously looks like it was installed to be used while driving.

        What difference in placement would you use between installing it for use while driving, and installing it for use during brief stops without needing the time to adjust position? I'm pretty sure using it while stopped at a red light wouldn't be an offence.

  • You'll see "Police Stop Man With Mobile Workshop in Van", although I tend not to actually leave stuff I'm working on sitting on the front seats.

    Fiddling with this stuff while driving sounds a bit dangerous, but who here hasn't used Google Maps on their laptop to work out where they are?

  • At least he wasn't [craziestgadgets.com] using this while driving.

  • double standard (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CAIMLAS (41445) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:36AM (#42010907) Homepage

    Because it's not like this is even a fractional amount of the setup most police squad cars have (at least here in the US):

    * Multiple radios, usually 2-3 from what I've seen (emergency, local police dispatch, national or state frequencies, etc.)
    * A laptop on a mount
    * A printer
    * A shotgun
    * A radar gun
    * spot lights
    * fancy data uplinks

    What exactly would the problem be with anyone having these things in their car?

    Keep in mind that "all of the above", plus what the guy in Germany had, is common fare for many US truckers (well, except the shotgun, which I believe is now illegal for a trucker to have in his cab).

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What exactly would the problem be with anyone having these things in their car?

      Having these things is no problem, using them while driving would be a problem. Remember that in Germany even using your mobile phone hand-held while driving is illegal (you have to connect it to the car's speaker system so both of your hands are free and you can focus on the road), checking your email on a laptop placed on the passenger seat while driving would definitely be verboten.

      In this case the issue is that whiel teh setup seems to be designed to be used while driving the cops did not catch the d

    • by houghi (78078)

      What exactly would the problem be with anyone having these things in their car?

      From the top of my head, the country he was in.
      In Germany there will almost always 2 police officers in a car. So one will be driving while the other will be doing the handling.

      And further, this is a non-story. The person was speeding and got a ticket for that. The items where not-secured and THAT also was a ticket.

      If it was not a printer that was unsecured, but a case of beer (which would be legal to have in the car in Germany)

    • by Ogive17 (691899)

      What exactly would the problem be with anyone having these things in their car?

      Training. Law enforcement go through much more rigorous training behind the wheel.

      • by JustNiz (692889)

        Driving distracted is going to result in a greatly increased risk of accidents no amount of training can fix that.

        Here in Phoenix I see cops using their dash- mounted laptops while driving all the time. They're ususally not giving enough attention to driving. I've even seen them miss some criminal activity going on right infront of them, because they're focussed on looking at their screens.

    • by trinity93 (215227)

      its perfectly legal to have a shotgun in your truck in most states

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        its perfectly legal to have a shotgun in your truck in most states

        It's perfectly legal to have a shotgun in your truck in most states, but in almost no states is it legal to travel around with it in a useful condition, i.e. fully loaded and close at hand.

        In many states, it is legal to carry a concealable loaded firearm while driving, but only with a permit, which may cost hundreds of dollars and require a test where you properly handle the weapon and put some rounds into a target zone, or may cost a few bucks and be available over the internet. Some states' concealed weap

        • by swillden (191260)

          in almost no states is it legal to travel around with it in a useful condition, i.e. fully loaded and close at hand.

          According to the map [opencarry.org] compiled by opencarry.org, ~35 states allow unlicensed vehicle carry, though some have some restrictions (must be visible, must be concealed, must be in glove box, may be restricted by local law, etc.).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    German traffic cops would red tag half the cars in America as unsafe I once got pulled over driving me POS car in college which was hot wired, cops thought it was funny.

    I have a friend from Austria/Germany. First visit to the US is standing in front of his friends house when a car drives by with no hood. He says to his friend did you see that! And his friend is see what? The car with no hood! Isn't that illegal? No of course not. ... ... ... America greatest country!

  • Looks like a German version of Maxwell Smart, driving his desk.
  • I have a laptop mount in my vehicle that I use to hold a laptop running GPS software while driving. It gets live traffic updates from my phone's WiFi hotspot.

    • by JustNiz (692889)

      Sounds like you might get in trouble if stopped.
      It wouldn't be hard for the cop to (imagine) he saw you using it as a PC. In that you'd have to _prove_ you werent typing or whatever. Your word against a traffic cop always loses.

  • There was an episode where Homer was cooking in its car while driving. When he was about to have an accident, instead of breaking, he sent an S.O.S fax. Reality beats imagination again.
  • by lewko (195646) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:10AM (#42010991) Homepage

    Needs a donut fryer.

  • I read somewhere else that he made an illegal pass on the right.
  • so? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StormyWeather (543593) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @09:35AM (#42011589) Homepage

    ummm.. my ford escape has had all this and more for over 4 years. I have had one accident not caused by me, and the cops were impressed by my setup, not busting me for it lol.

    • by Mal-2 (675116)

      They didn't bust him for it either, they busted him for driving infractions they observed before they were aware of the equipment in the car.

      Once they became aware of the equipment in the car, they still realized they had no proof (though some suspicion) that the equipment may have had something to do with the erratic driving. It looks like they cited him only for what he did, while pointing out the potential consequences if he was using the equipment while driving. In other words, the system actually worke

  • That's not a summary, that's a 1:1 copy of the entire article!
  • by DaveAtFraud (460127) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @11:44AM (#42012149) Homepage Journal

    When asked what he was doing, did he respond, "Impersonating an office sir."

    You can all groan now.

    Cheers,
    Dave

  • by epp_b (944299) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @01:05PM (#42012659)
    So, can they charge people for having a Kleenex box that's not buckled in?
  • A few years ago I was in the market for a car, and I considered a used police car.

    The car makers usually have a police option group, including heavy duty front suspension and a heavy duty electrical system. Just what I need for driving up mountains with radios and telescopes.

    Not to mention the intimidation factor. Around here, the cops like Ford Crown Victorias. And only cops drive them. Ford haven't sold them to private individuals for a long time, and they were never a big seller anyway.

    ...laura

    • by Mal-2 (675116)

      Problem with a used cop car is that the transmission is probably shot to hell. That's usually why they retire them.

  • Yes, German autobahns have speed limits, though obviously not everywhere. We have them because they are absolutely necessary. Germany has more than twice the population of California on significantly less area. The traffic often is accordingly.

    For the same reason, it is absolutely forbidden to overpass another car on the right except under very specific circumstances (stop and go traffic, or direction lines at a crossing). This is the other thing which this driver has done. In contrast to the costly but soc

  • I don't know the guy's deal, but I wouldn't be surprised if he lived in that car. Hmm. Sometimes, it doesn't sound like a horrible idea to save up six grand and live in my car for a year. I'd have all the time I wanted to work on my own projects instead of working a 60-hour IT job.

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