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Transportation Idle

German Police Stop Man With Mobile Office In Car 146

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 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 CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:39AM (#42010911) Homepage

    I don't know about you, but I've rarely seen a pair of officers in most cars unless we're talking about somewhere like Oakland, CA.

    In the Dodge Charger squad cars, there simply isn't enough room for the electronics and a passenger - not unless the passenger is under 6' and 150lb at least. Not only do the newer cars afford barely any space, but the equipment takes up a lot. (This was much less a problem in a Vic.)

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:59AM (#42010963)

    You watch too much TV. Its hard to have dialog in the show unless there are partners.

    Seriously, the only places you see two officer cars are in areas where crime is so rampant that cops are afraid
    to go alone.

    Even cities that are known for two officer cars don't use that model all the time (NYC for example typically use one officer cars in the burbs). San Diego [] actually found it safer and more efficient to have only one officer per car.

    The FBI collected information for a period from January 1960 to September 1962 and found that in American cities deploying both types of vehicles, 65% of the officers killed while on duty killed were in two-officer vehicles while only 35% were in one-officer vehicles. This statistic seems to indicate that the presence of a second officer does not guarantee personal safety. From Here []

    Every time a single officer is killed it becomes a big emotional issue but most departments run single officer cars in most areas for most of the time, with some exceptions for high crime cities.

  • by cyclohazard ( 677922 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:13AM (#42011009)

    The FBI collected information for a period from January 1960 to September 1962 and found that in American cities deploying both types of vehicles, 65% of the officers killed while on duty killed were in two-officer vehicles while only 35% were in one-officer vehicles.

    That seems like a rather natural correlation: Presumably when there is a potential for a dangerous situation to arise, a two-officer vehicle would be dispatched. Concluding anything about the safety of one-officer vehicles vs. two-officer vehicles from this statistic would be on rather shaky ground.

  • Re:double standard (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:17AM (#42011013)

    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 driver red-handed and as such had to let him go with a fine for exceeding the speed limit.

  • Re:Non story (Score:5, Informative)

    by wooferhound ( 546132 ) <> on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:15AM (#42011151) Homepage
    You can vote for the stories that you you want on the front page []
    Or you can submit your own awesome stories . . .
  • Re:Speed Limit? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <> on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:41AM (#42011249) Homepage

    He was driving on the Autobahn 8, but on a segment limited to 100km/h.

  • Re:Speed Limit? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Golden_Rider ( 137548 ) * on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:47AM (#42011253)

    Of course there are speed limits on the German autobahn, contrary to what many non-Germans think. As far as I know, there are even more autobahn-kilometers with a speed limit than without (both fixed speed limits and variable ones depending on traffic/weather/...).

  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17, 2012 @09:05AM (#42011477)

    I have lived in GA, SC, MO, NE, CO, AK and have never two cops share a car except for AK. Id often see the staties on the highway from Fairbanks to Anchorage, and they usually had two per car. I am guessing it was more because of the extreme circumstances of living in Alaska, particularly in the winter.

    I also worked as a mechanic in GA for a few years back in the early 00's. Working at a Ford dealership means you see a lot of the cop cars. The cars were set up for one person in almost all police cars. The sheriff cars usually were not.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Saturday November 17, 2012 @10:55AM (#42011923)

    Am I really the only one that considered the possibility that there's fewer deaths cause single officers are more likely to act more carefully?

    In fact that is exactly what happened, contrary to what all those who refuse to read the linked articles but feel compelled to pontificate think.
    They also are much more aware while on patrol because they are not always talking with their partners.

    I don't even know why the discussion is still raging, because all you have to do is look out your windows at the next cop car you see and take a head count. The vast majority of you will see single officer cars. If we eliminated NYC and Detroit and a few other tough neighborhood cities you will probably find that single officer cars are the norm everywhere in the U.S. On a recent cross country trip I was amazed to find two officer police cars, till I realized I was in Boston.

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