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German Police Stop Man With Mobile Office In Car

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the so-what's-the-trouble-officer? dept.

Transportation 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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Serious comment (-1, Offtopic)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010681)

... still thinking of one not blatantly obvious thing to say ....

Re:Serious comment (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010881)

Perhaps "one less slashdotter polluting the roads"?

Re:Serious comment (1)

mrclisdue (1321513) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011365)

I just read the headline and figured some nutjob had a copy of MS's new Mobile Office(TM) for Win8/RT/Surface or whatever else they've been blathering about lately....

So, ya...that wudda been strange.

cheers,

Re:Serious comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42011867)

One less slashdotter period...better statement.

Re:Serious comment (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42012343)

That's supposed to be a jab at the female members, or what?

Re:Serious comment (0)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010997)

How about "Please kill yourself before you kill somebody else".

Re:Serious comment (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011491)

Why? The COPS have that exact same setup and they screw around with the laptop while driving. And I can guarentee that cops are not "expert" drivers that can do that safely.

How about we demand the police stop doing the exact same thing.

Re:Serious comment (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42011749)

Usually in the UK there are 2 cops in the car. The driver isn't screwing around.

Re:Serious comment (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42012355)

We seldom see two cops in the same car here in the states. And, as GP states, you can and will see the cops dicking around on the computer while they drive.

Re:Serious comment (4, Insightful)

digitallife (805599) | about a year and a half ago | (#42012145)

I have 3 times actually seen a cop driving in a car talking on their cell phone, despite a law here banning using a cell while driving. I even managed to get a video of it one of the times. I think the reason respect for cops has decreased so much over the last couple decades is that people are realizing they are hypocritical, power drunk assholes, and not just a few 'bad apples, but the majority of them.

Re:Serious comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42012479)

Yeah, because nothing says "power drunk" like talking on a cell phone.

Re:Serious comment (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011311)

Yeah, I know. Wouldn't it have actually been a story if it had been instead; "Police Stop Man with Mobile Car, in Office",...?

Marketing strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42010689)

"Car with mobile office found" would have caused lot less clicks on the story. Now we had to stuff "police" to the headline and mention that the mobile office was not related to the police stopping.

Re:Marketing strategy (2)

durrr (1316311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010697)

Well, at least it wasn't "Man with mobile office in phone, stopped by police"

Re:Marketing strategy (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010787)

The funny thing is this "Mobile Office" resembles a lot of US Police squad cars, especially those in larger cities.

Built in computers with direct access to multiple databases, GPS tracking of the car as well as nearby police cars.
automated license plate readers, more radios than you can count, video cameras, and printers for your citation.

The sad part is the cops drive while reading from and typing on these computers.

Re:Marketing strategy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42010821)

Yeah but cops get special training to do so in a safe and (&$&$/&)(/" Carrier Lost

Re:Marketing strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42010863)

The sad part is the cops drive while reading from and typing on these computers.

Perhaps it's different where you live, but where I live there always seem to be two cops in a police car, one of them driving and the other operating the extra stuff.

Re:Marketing strategy (5, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#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 [ncjrs.gov] 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 [fcpp.org]

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.

Re:Marketing strategy (5, Informative)

cyclohazard (677922) | about a year and a half ago | (#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:Marketing strategy (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011031)

Then I suggest you trace it to the source and read the whole study. Bear in mind that this isn't the only such study to arrive at the same conclusion.

Departments don't often deploy both in the same area. And they don't route two officer cars across town when one or more single officer cars are closer. They simply send more than one car.

Multiple cars with single officers are more efficient and safer than single cars with dual officers.

Re:Marketing strategy (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011759)

Also twice as many officers are killed, or you have twice the chance for at least one kill, when a two officer car has a serious crash.

Re:Marketing strategy (4, Insightful)

FairAndHateful (2522378) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011255)

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 [fcpp.org]

Without knowing the percentages of one and two officer cars and the specifics of their deployment, this statistic indicates nothing. There's simply not enough information. Assuming 1/2 of the cars have a single officer, and 1/2 of the cars have 2 officers, and they are evenly deployed, one could conclude that each officer in a 2 officer car is .833% safer than the officer in a one officer car. That's not the only problem here. Why are we citing a study from 1960 to 1962? Hasn't the nature of crime and the style of officer deployment changed at least a little in the last 50 years?

Re:Marketing strategy (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011499)

That just tells me that being around cops is dangerous.... So avoid police that are in numbers.

Re:Marketing strategy (2)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42012121)

Being around cops is dangerous, no matter how many of them there are.

Re:Marketing strategy (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011555)

...areas where crime is so rampant that cops are afraid to go alone.

It's called Detroit.

Re:Marketing strategy (4, Insightful)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011633)

Seeing as the 2-officer cars have twice as many officers, I would assume that there would be a higher percentage of deaths in a 2-officer setup. Usually 1 car gets dispatched to a location, if something goes horribly wrong and there's only 1 officer, then only 1 officer can be killed. If there are 2 officers, then you can potentially have 2 officers killed. Another way to look at it is in percentages (which you seem to like). If you have 60 officers and 40 cars, then you have half your cars with 1 officer and half with 2. Now if you were to randomly kill 20 officers, chances are about 2/3 (close to 65%) of them would have been in 2-officer situations while 1/3 (close to 35%) would have been in 1-officer situations.

Re:Marketing strategy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42011833)

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?

Re:Marketing strategy (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Marketing strategy (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year and a half ago | (#42012081)

s/act more carefully/run away/

Re:Marketing strategy (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011987)

On the other hand, if someone is willing to kill to get away, there's a chance that with one officer approaching they would do it, but with two officers they'd think that their chances are too low.

Re:Marketing strategy (1)

number11 (129686) | about a year and a half ago | (#42012493)

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.car.

Around here, it's because cops prefer to cruise with a buddy (wouldn't you?), and have a union that's strong enough to call the shots. And, of course, because we have a chief and city council who are too spineless to press the issue (you just know the union's PR response would be "they're needlessly endangering our brave boys in blue").

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.

No. And they are less likely to kill innocent bystanders or other people who aren't actually a serious threat, too. Maybe when they're alone, they're less likely to be asshats, and not be playing to their buddies. Maybe it's "mob psychology" that affects the cops. (And of course, maybe it's that if they're alone, they won't go anywhere that might be dangerous until backup arrives.)

And it's not as if cop is that dangerous a job. Being a garbage man, farmer, or truck driver is far more dangerous (top 10 US dangerous occupations: fisherman, logger, pilot, garbage collector, roofer, structural iron worker, farmer, truck driver, powerline worker, taxi driver). But we don't have any TV series about garbage collectors.

Re:Marketing strategy (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011985)

I've never seen that, but if it were to ever happen around here, then the car would need a second computer. The nice thing is that whatever games the cops are playing, they'd have really short ping times when they played with each other.

Re:Marketing strategy (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010889)

The sad part is the cops drive while reading from and typing on these computers.

They work in pairs, don't they? They probably aren't driving both at the same time.

Re:Marketing strategy (3, Informative)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010911)

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.)

Re:Marketing strategy (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Marketing strategy (1)

peragrin (659227) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011281)

My mother has that setup for her reality job.

Car insurance people who travel alot have that setup.

Minus the printer maybe but my mother users her laptop with a gps device for navigating.

of course both of those people use professional metal install kits.

Re:Marketing strategy (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42011385)

My mother has that setup for her reality job.

Really? What does she have for her fantasy job?

Re:Marketing strategy (2)

lxs (131946) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011657)

Paladin armour.

I've seen this elsewhere, too. (1)

MickLinux (579158) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011415)

I went to a weather-watcher's class, and another person there actually had set up their vehicle for storm chasing. He had a whole office in his car. I suspect that those who get videos of things like tornados probably can market them pretty well.

At least for fame, maybe for money.

Anyhow... these things and more have been standard issue for news vans for some time now. I don't see what the big deal is, as long as he isn't using it while driving.

Also, being set up for use while in the driver's seat does not mean that it's set up for use while driving.

Non story (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42010715)

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.

Re:Non story (4, Informative)

wooferhound (546132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011151)

You can vote for the stories that you you want on the front page
http://slashdot.org/recent [slashdot.org]
Or you can submit your own awesome stories . . .

Speed Limit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42010733)

I would think there were no speed limits in the autobahn highway.

Re:Speed Limit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42010751)

Yes, you would think that.

Re:Speed Limit? (2)

x0d (2506794) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010771)

He was driving on a Bundesstraße or Landstraße, where a speed limit applies (in this case, 100km/h).

Re:Speed Limit? (3, Informative)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011249)

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

Re:Speed Limit? (4, Informative)

Golden_Rider (137548) | about a year and a half ago | (#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/...).

There is some news here... (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010745)

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

Re:There is some news here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42010773)

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

Mostly to reduce noise in densely populated areas, around especially dangerous spots, construction sites or during rain at locations known for aquaplaning.

Re:There is some news here... (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010779)

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.

Re:There is some news here... (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010875)

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.

Re:There is some news here... (4, Informative)

hutsell (1228828) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011309)

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.

Re:There is some news here... (2)

FairAndHateful (2522378) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011495)

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.

Re:There is some news here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42012033)

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.

An additional tweak from teh calculatorz: (80/3)*5=133.3333333333333333.... Approximately 133kph, according to accepted convention; making the134kph approximation a bit closer than the 129kph. Texas' newly opened 41 mile toll road is the only place that allows 85mph. The other places allowing 80mph are in only in Texas and Utah.

Re:There is some news here... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011515)

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 next exit and do it safely. For some reason it's always an idiot in a pickup truck or SUV. I have never seen a small sports car do it.

The fun part is these idiots cause risk to others by stopping in the speed lane and then turn into the other sides speed lane at very slow speeds, typically forcing people to slam on the brakes to avoid plowing into the morons.

Re:There is some news here... (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42012095)

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 freeways and highways are shat upon, speed limits drop for no reason, come around a corner and suddenly there's a town. I got a ticket for THAT in Johnson City, TX. Come around a corner and halfway hidden by a tree there's an unwarned speed limit change from 55 to 35. WOOP WOOP GIVE US MONEY. Pieces of warmed-over shit.

Re:There is some news here... (1)

drkim (1559875) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010909)

...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..."

Re:There is some news here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42010937)

As he said, the autobahn is not free-speed everywhere.

Re:There is some news here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42011405)

Had it been an originally German article, I would have taken that at face value. Seeing as it is not, I'm inclined to think something might have been lost in translation.
Generally, when there is a speed limit an the Autobahn, it is 120 km/h. Granted, 100 km/h does occur. However, it incidentally also is the speed limit on extra-municipal roads when not otherwise stated.

Long story short, I would take that statement with a grain of salt.

Re:There is some news here... (2)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010781)

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...

Non-story (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010761)

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!". :-)

Re:Non-story (5, Funny)

Stephan Schulz (948) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010847)

/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!". :-)

We don't have crime in Germany. It went out of style 35 years ago as old-fashioned.

Re:Non-story (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011539)

Except the Skinhead territory in South East berlin...

Not surprising and not news. (1)

FPhlyer (14433) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010797)

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 send medical documents instead of hand delivering them could be a huge time saver. Maybe even a life saver.
Is this really so uncommon in Germany that it warrants a news story?

Re:Not surprising and not news. (5, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Not surprising and not news. (5, Insightful)

Stephan Schulz (948) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011005)

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.

In the us you do have the split car / truck limits (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42012085)

In the us you do have the split car / truck limits as well.

Re:Not surprising and not news. (1)

julesh (229690) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011105)

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.

Re:Not surprising and not news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42012003)

I'm pretty sure using it while stopped at a red light wouldn't be an offence.

and you'd be wrong, you're still 'in control of the vehicle' and expected to be such. Stopping at a red light doesn't mean that you can ignore the cars coming towards you, the car coming up too fast behind you or even, lets be outlandish here, the light changing to green so that you can move off in a timely manner rather than been hooted at and then moving off quickly without paying attention to what's around you.

Re:Not surprising and not news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42012241)

This story was not about using the setup while driving. Some people walk and text but usually the phone is in pocket. Basically anything drawing attention away from driving, even some commercial from radio. Speech, radio, kids, wifes, bad day, etc. At least I hope they don't text with both hands while driving...
Some taxi drivers (at least here where I live) have almost similar setups (with touch interfaces) but they a "little bit better" than the average driver.

kph (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42010871)

kph?
ha-ha-ha

I'd better watch out... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010885)

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?

Re:I'd better watch out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42011487)

Laptop? No. But I do have 3 Android phones- one from work, one personal and an old Nexus 1 I ROMmed and use as a GPS.

At least he wasn't using this while driving. (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010891)

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

double standard (4, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010907)

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:double standard (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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:double standard (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011265)

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) the same might have happened.

It feels as if the story was written by a patent-troll. Just because it said 'on a computer' does not mean it is anything new.

Re:double standard (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011485)

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.

Re:double standard (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about a year and a half ago | (#42012365)

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.

Re:double standard (1)

trinity93 (215227) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011823)

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

Re:double standard (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42012077)

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 weapons permits are honored by some other states, but not all of them as supposedly required by the constitution. (States are required to follow the constitution, which allegedly prohibits the right to keep _and bear_ arms, but every state infringes on this in at least some circumstances today, and states are required to observe the laws of other states.)

km/h please! (0, Offtopic)

andreasmor (839369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010959)

kph is no measuring unit, km/h is. Please also stop with mph, stones , feet and other ancient units used in three countries only. Bye Andreas

Re:km/h please! (3, Insightful)

MrBeau (1009661) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011155)

kph is an abbreviation of the unit "kilometer per hour" and the one recommended by most news publishers, e.g. Reuters. km/h is the unit symbol of the unit kph. The symbol would probably have been more appropriate though and I definitely agree that everyone should get rid of non-SI units.

The German Traffic Cops (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42010973)

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!

Maxwell Smart (1)

cpghost (719344) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010983)

Looks like a German version of Maxwell Smart, driving his desk.

I'm trying to figure out what the story is. (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010987)

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.

Re:I'm trying to figure out what the story is. (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about a year and a half ago | (#42012271)

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.

The Simpsons (2)

the11thplague (1776646) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010989)

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.

Re:The Simpsons (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011157)

Yeah, I guess many things broke due to the crash, but braking may have reduced the damage.

Simpsons already did it... (4, Funny)

lewko (195646) | about a year and a half ago | (#42010991)

Needs a donut fryer.

Good thang he weren't no Jew (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42011073)

Or were he one?

Hi my name is Joe Wechter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42011235)

I am a U.S. Citizen and I would like to work here:

http://www.bundesbank.de/Redaktion/EN/Downloads/Press/Picture%20archive/bundesbank_gebaeude_jpg.jpg?__blob=publicationFile

illegal pass (1)

WhackAttack (2672021) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011303)

I read somewhere else that he made an illegal pass on the right.

so? (2, Interesting)

StormyWeather (543593) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011589)

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.

Goodwill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42011621)

"regret not picking up a surplus police cruiser computer when they were in stock at the local Goodwill."

In Chicago land (Naperville store) they do not sell whole computers anymore, some lady got violated, she left data from bank accounts an whatnot on machine...
Don't police cars use panisonic tufbooks? Lest they did around here, car manufactures should offer some intergraded computer or heads up display option.
This driver on autobahn if he has an accident, all that stuff flying around hope he has the pass air bag turned off, sounds like a hazard to me...

kcim

(Napervillian)

Re:Goodwill (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42012091)

In Naperville you can go over to the tigerdirect / compusa store and get all kinds of stuff from there warehouse.

Summary? (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about a year and a half ago | (#42011641)

That's not a summary, that's a 1:1 copy of the entire article!

Standard Insurance Agent Setup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42011679)

Most US insurance companies have this setup. They even sell a plastic mount that 'sits' in the passenger seat so that they are secured properly.

SI units? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42011935)

Dear people who write things-ph,
please note that when we use SI units, most of the time we mean it: we write km/h and not kph (kilowhat?). Please, please do the same!

When asked... (4, Funny)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | about a year and a half ago | (#42012149)

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

You can all groan now.

Cheers,
Dave

"Unsecured Items" (2)

epp_b (944299) | about a year and a half ago | (#42012659)

So, can they charge people for having a Kleenex box that's not buckled in?
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