A Florida man is facing fines that could cost him up to $48,000. The charge? Using an illegal jamming device to prevent other drivers from driving while texting. While the intent may be to create a no-cell safety zone, jamming signals can actually interfere with emergency calls as well as emergency personnel.
The driver, Jason R. Humphreys, was using his personal “jammer” during his morning commute between Seffner and Tampa for at least two years before he was noticed by Metro PCS. In April of 2013, the company alerted the FCC after noticing signal interference during morning and evening commute hours.
FCC agents then used “direction finding techniques” to locate the SUV Humphreys used during his commute while breaking federal “jamming” laws.
Per FCC regulations, “cell jammers” are illegal since it can prevent emergency calls and law enforcement from performing duties – such as pulling over drivers on their cell phones:
The use of “cell jammers” or similar devices designed to intentionally block, jam, or interfere with authorized radio communications (signal blockers, GPS jammers, or text stoppers, etc.) is a violation of federal law. Also, it is unlawful to advertise, sell, distribute, or otherwise market these devices to consumers in the United States. These devices pose serious risks to critical public safety communications, and can prevent you and others from making 9-1-1 and other emergency calls. Jammers can also interfere with law enforcement communications. Operation of a jammer in the United States may subject you to substantial monetary penalties, seizure of the unlawful equipment, and criminal sanctions including imprisonment.
For more information regarding the law, head over to the FCC’s FAQ page.