Man receives Longmont’s first ‘texting while driving’ ticket

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LONGMONT, Colo. – Paul Ferruzza can call himself the first, though he’s hardly beaming with pride.

He’s the first driver in Longmont to get a ticket for texting and driving. And yes, he’s planning to fight it. He says he wasn’t texting, he was just taking a peek at his phone after hearing a message alert.

“I’m totally against texting and driving,” Ferruzza said. “I just pulled my phone out to see who it was.”

But the Longmont police officer who ticketed Ferruzza said he was paying more attention to his phone than a stoplight.

Ferruzza doesn’t deny missing the light turning green. He got a honk from the driver behind him when he didn’t move upon the light changing.

Another thing Ferruzza will admit: He did respond to the text. But he says he did so using the voice text option, and did not type anything with his fingers.

“You have to actively be entering data into the phone to violate that law,” Ferruzza said.

That’s true. Texting in Colorado is a primary offense, meaning you can be stopped and ticketed if an officer sees your fingers operating the phone.

Not only was he ticketed for this offense he says he didn’t commit, Ferruzza said he also got a ticket for not wearing his seat belt.

He says that accusation is plain false.

“Apparently I ran into an officer who needed brownie points or something,” Ferruzza said. “Did she want a gold star on her wall for issuing the first texting ticket? I don’t know.”

Now Ferruzza says he will not only be the first Longmont citizen to get a ticket for texting and driving, he’ll be the first Longmont citizen to fight the charge – and win.

His case will be heard by a judge in February.