A Florida man, fed up with people talking on the cell phone while driving, took matters into his own hands by jamming all cell phone communications around him as he drove to and from work. Problem his jamming tactics, which went undetected for two years, blocked emergency communications as well. Once caught, he now faces a $48,000 fine.

Florida man

Meet Florida Man: The 60 year old version of a vigilante

You might consider Jason R. Humphreys a 60 year old version of a vigilante. On his morning commute along Interstate 4 in Hillsborough County, Florida he grew tired of witnessing drivers engrossed in conversations while putting those around them in danger.

Rather than taking action to change the political landscape and press for new laws, Humphreys outfitted his blue Toyota Highlander SUV with the latest communications jamming equipment. As he drove down the Interstate, something funny happened. Those gabbing away on their cell phones suddenly had their calls dropped as Humphreys raced by. Funny that is unless you run the cell phone network or operate emergency services in an area that was effectively blacked out of cell coverage.

Metro PCS investigates outage of cell phone reception

Metro PCS, the regional cell phone operator, began fielding complaints and investigated. Using cell phone tower data, the company first noted that the cell phone interference was taking place in the morning and afternoon during the rush hour commute at essentially the same time each day and occurred on a rolling basis. This led investigators to believe an individual on a commute was responsible, and they filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, which led to a more detailed investigation..

The FCC brought in more sophisticated directional location techniques in an attempt to track the rolling location of the offender as he made his way down the highway. After months of work, they eventually got in sync with the driver’s pattern and called in the Hillsborough Country Sheriff.

The FCC, riding with the Sheriff police, finally got close to the vehicle on the morning commute and noticed something odd. Once they believed they were within a close striking distance of the offender, their communication equipment failed. They knew it was a hot pursuit and eventually pinned down Humphries and his blue SUV.

In Flordia it’s not illegal to talk while on the phone, but it is illegal to interfere with cell phone communication. This is a $48,000 lesson Humphries is likely not to forget anytime soon.