Motorist Cited For Watching "Parks And Recreation"

Woman, 32, viewed sitcom while behind wheel

APRIL 25--Consider this a big Knope.

A Minnesota motorist was cited this month after police spotted her watching an episode of “Parks and Recreation” on her phone while she was supposed to be paying attention to other more pressing concerns.

On April 15, a police officer in Blaine, a city about 20 miles north of Minneapolis, spotted the distracted driver appearing to be enjoying some kind of filmed entertainment.

When the cop exited his squad car and approached the 32-year-old suspect, she confessed to watching an episode of “Parks and Recreation” while behind the wheel. The NBC sitcom starred Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, a municipal bureaucrat in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana.

The motorist was cited in connection with a statute barring the installation or use of television screens “in any motor vehicle where images from the screen are visible to the driver while operating the motor vehicle.”

On Tuesday afternoon, a male motorist received a pair of citations after a Minnesota State Patrol officer spotted him driving on Interstate 94 while watching an episode of “Law & Order” on his phone (he also was not wearing a seatbelt at the time he was viewing the NBC police procedural).

A police citation does not indicate what “Parks and Recreation” episode was being viewed by the female driver, but “The Fight” from Season 3 and “Pawnee Zoo” from Season 2 would have been solid choices. In the latter episode, Knope presided over the marriage of the Pawnee Zoo’s two male penguins, prompting demands from some city residents to annul the same-sex union of Tux and Flipper. As seen above, Knope eventually drove the penguins to a zoon in Iowa, where gay marriage is legal.

In an effort to combat distracted driving, Minnesota’s governor this month signed a bill barring motorists from holding a cell phone in their hand or using the device for video calling, video live-streaming, Snapchat, gaming, examining photos or videos, texting, and typing. Violating the “hands-free law,” which takes effect August 1, will result in a $50 ticket (and court costs) for first-time offenders. Any subsequent tickets will cost a driver $275.