Q. Will the texting-while-driving ban prohibit Facebook? Playing games? Switching songs? How will the police know for sure what I'm doing? Will they read my messages? How can they ban texts being received? You are just trying to fix a problem you don't know the answer to.
A. The ban prohibits texting, emailing, instant messaging or surfing the Internet. Police will use evidence from their state-of-the-art video system that records what they see.
Facebook is out. Really, would any sane person believe Facebook activity should be done while in control of a motor vehicle in traffic?
Receiving texts is not banned. Some information that went out was in error in saying it was banned. Reading incoming texts is banned. Obviously, this might be somewhat more difficult to prove.
GPS is not banned. Phone calls are still legal. Switching songs is OK.
Playing games? Do you even have to ask?
Police are not interested in reading your texts. The NSA, the CIA, the FBI and anyone your phone company allows to can read them anyway; we all should be about 10 years past the point of assuming privacy in any electronic correspondence.
The questioner regards texting bans as trying to fix a problem with no answer. The problem is traffic safety. We limit speeding; we require safety belts; we arrest drunks; we don't let 13-year-olds drive, etc. And now, we won't let you text.
None of those things are “the answer.” They are all a part of the answer.
Q. What if the police take my phone and it's the only one I have for emergencies. You'll be in lots of trouble if I die because I couldn't call 911 in an emergency.
A. Confiscation of phones will not be routine and probably very rare. Perhaps only in case of accidents possibly related to the violation. If there is some extraordinary situation where your only phone is taken because you broke the law (or probable cause exists to believe that), it would be up to you to get yourself another phone if you felt endangered by not having one.
Q. Why doesn't the city fix the potholes on Third Avenue Southeast as it runs north of Lakewood Mall?
A. The city street terminates at Lafayette and beyond that to the east is privately owned property, not a publicly maintained roadway.
Q. Does the city use microchip locators on pets they find running loose?
Q. Why doesn't the recycling truck use the alleyways so we can keep the trashy look off the streets?
A. I'm told those trucks are too big and cumbersome to negotiate the tight spaces and turns of the alleys.
Aberdeen Mayor Mike Levsen's views are his own and don't necessarily represent those of other city officials. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.