Published: May 1, 2014
A Florida man who allegedly jammed consumer cell phone service from his car for nearly two years and interfered with first-responder communications faces a possible $48,000 fine by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Jason Humphreys wanted to take action in his quest to stop drivers from talking on their cellphones while driving, so he obtained a jammer to block the airwaves around his SUV during a daily commute on Interstate 4 between Tampa and Seffner.
He appears to have successfully blocked cellphone communications around his vehicle for 16 to 24 months until the Federal Communications Commission caught on. The agency last year received a complaint from Metro PCS noting persistent interference along the I-4 corridor, coinciding with the morning and evening commute times. Investigators were dispatched to the area with directional antennas, identifying a blue Highlander from which strong signals emanated.
Talking on cellphones while driving is not illegal in Florida, however using or importing cellphone signal jammers is a violation of federal law. The FCC nots that jammers pose a safety threat by “precluding the use of cell phones to reach life-saving 9-1-1 services provided by police, ambulance, and fire departments.”
The agency has proposed the $48,000 fine as a punishment, though laws allow for fines of up to $116,000 for any single act that carries on for multiple days. Violators can also face additional criminal penalties, including imprisonment.