Viral video of an incident entitled "Redneck Road Rage / Instant Karma" got the attention of Florida law enforcement, and landed the alleged road rager behind bars.
Jeffrey White, 33, was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving, and not wearing a seatbelt, according to Tampa's WTSP-TV.
Turns out legal karma is a b---- too. But what about the other driver who captured the video on a cell phone while behind the wheel herself?
Man Flicks Off Driver, Crashes
If you had any worries about there being justice in the world, White's arrest may bring you some sort of comfort. Although courts have ruled that flipping off drivers (even cops) isn't illegal, it shouldn't be at the expense of safe driving.
As he appears in the video, White speeds up to pass the recording driver, but then attempts to match speed with her so that he can give her a good look at his extended middle finger:
At the very least, taking your eyes off the road in order to give someone the finger can be considered distracted driving.
But Tampa cops thought it was more like reckless driving, probably because driving unsafely to flick someone off shows a fair disregard for safety. In Florida, reckless driving begins as a misdemeanor, but if serious injuries are involved, it can be a felony.
No injuries were reported by White or the flicked-off driver, but White is still probably rethinking that road rage-fueled maneuver.
Can You Record While Driving?
As technology becomes cheaper and more ubiquitous, more and more drivers have some way to record their trips. Some taxi cabs and most police cars have "dash cams" that capture what is happening in and out of the vehicle. Cabs have used dash cams to catch phone thieves, and arrestees have used them to prove police misconduct.
Generally, video cameras inside your vehicle are legal, as long as they don't distract you from driving safely. That's probably why a San Francisco Bay Area initiative to publicly "shame" distracted drivers on billboards has called upon passengers or pedestrians to record or photograph them, not other drivers.
The "Instant Karma" filmer appears to be holding her iPhone in her hand, which would be a no-no in states that have barred using a phone while driving. According to the Florida Department of Transportation, distracted driving can include using "other electronic devices," so even a handheld cam might not be a great idea while driving.
According to WTSP, however, law-enforcement officers "thanked her for taking the video" to track down White -- even though she was clearly driving while using her phone.
- Florida Man Arrested After 'Instant Karma' Road Rage Video Goes Viral (The Huffington Post)
- Do You Have the Right to Flip Off Cops? (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Viral Moose Chase Video Gets Snowboarder Fined (FindLaw's Legal Grounds)
- Alleged Shoplifter, Stripped on Video, Sues for Emotional Distress (FindLaw's Legally Weird)