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Why Did the Federal Communications Commission Issue A Fine to Jason Humphreys?

Almost 390,000 injuries occur every year due to drivers who are texting while behind the wheel. In fact, according to statistics, one out of four vehicular accidents are caused by this. Several laws have been passed regarding this, officially making it illegal to text and drive. But it seems to be challenging to implement. Here is where Jason Humphreys comes in. What did he do to take matters into his own hands? 

Jason Humphreys was fined $48,000 by the Federal Communications Commission when he was caught using a cellphone jammer during his daily commute. Humphreys was fed up with seeing drivers using their phones while driving.

How Jason Humphreys Got Caught

Jason R. Humphreys was fed up seeing people using their phones during his daily commute. He felt that his safety was jeopardized by these people, even though it was perfectly legal for drivers to make and take phone calls while driving.

He took matters into his own hands, purchased a signal jammer, and started using it on his daily commute between Seffner and Tampa. He allegedly used the jammer daily between 16 to 24 months. He wouldn’t have been caught had it not been because of a report from Metro PCS.

In April 2013, Metro PCS reported to the FCC that their cell towers experienced unexplained interference near a stretch of I-4 between Seffner and Tampa every day for the last two years. And the interference usually occurs both in the mornings and in the evenings.

The FCC, who thought that the report was unusual, decided to investigate the issue further. FCC operatives organized a stakeout to uncover the cause of the unexplained interference by monitoring the signals during the morning and the evening.

The authorities discovered a blue Toyota Highlander consistently sending out a strong wideband emission. They asked the highway patrol to pull over the Highlander to confirm their hunch. When the highway patrol car approached Humphrey’s car, even their own two-way radios experienced interference.

Humphreys confessed to having the jammer and simply stated he didn’t like people talking on their phones while in their cars. He also thought that his jammer would only work over a radius of around 30 feet. He was unaware that his jammer’s reach was much wider than that.

Upon further investigation, FCC discovered that Humphreys’ jammer not only messed with cell phone signals, but it was also capable of jamming equipment used by law enforcement and first responders. (Source: CNET)

The Consequence of Humphrey’s Peace and Quiet Commute

Humphreys was fined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for three violations: unauthorized usage of a radio transmitter, use of an illegal device, and causing intentional interference.

Humphreys’ fine was a whopping $48,000 for his alleged crime. The base fines for these violations were $10,000, $5,000, and $7,000, but the FCC had the discretion to raise each fine to $16,000 each, to which they did. FCC also has the right to assess the amounts per day, totaling $112,500, but lucky for Humphreys. They didn’t. FCC claims that jammers like Humphreys can interfere with 911 calls or law enforcement communications, which could have caused more trouble. (Source: Comm Law Blog)

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