Driver has early September court date in Arizona about laptop

| 8/21/2008

A truck driver who was ticketed for having a laptop in his cab is scheduled to appear before an Arizona judge in early September.

An Arizona DOT enforcement officer issued a citation to Gerald Cook, an OOIDA member from Amarillo, TX, in late May at the San Simon Port of Entry on Interstate 10 at the Arizona-New Mexico border.

The officer told Cook the ticket was for having a laptop mounted near his driver’s seat, and cited FMCSR 393.88, which bans screens capable of receiving a television broadcast signal from being within a commercial driver’s view.

Cook – a truck driving veteran of five years – is challenging the citation, and told Land Line in interviews earlier this year that he believes he will win.

“I’ll fight it until every cop car in the country doesn’t have a laptop in it,” Cook said in June. “My laptop is staying right where it is.”

The judge in Cook’s case is scheduled to set a trial date at his Sept. 4 court appearance.

After initially requesting an opinion from FMCSA on the legality of enforcing 393.88 against drivers with laptops, Arizona has since said it decided not to request an opinion and has suspended writing citations for laptops under 393.88.

Section 393.88 of the FMCSR states:

“Any motor vehicle equipped with a television viewer, screen or other means of visually receiving a television broadcast shall have the viewer or screen located in the motor vehicle at a point to the rear of the back of the driver’s seat if such viewer or screen is in the same compartment as the driver and the viewer or screen shall be so located as not to be visible to the driver, while he/she is driving the motor vehicle. The operating controls for the television receiver shall be so located that the driver cannot operate them without leaving the driver’s seat.”


– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer