Tuesday, 29 July 2014

It's time we all got tough on drivers with mobiles

It was refreshing to see the headline of the Daily Mail on Saturday, stating that police will automatically  seize mobile phones at the scene of accidents in order to determine whether texting or talking on the phone was a contributory factor.
Daily Mail headline

It comes on top of a recent announcement by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin that those caught texting whilst driving should be given six points on their license rather than three.

But I believe that this doesn't go far enough, and that until using a phone whilst driving is regarded in the same vein as driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and those who choose to flaunt the law are dealt with severely (and I'm talking long jail terms and life-time driving bans), then people will continue to do it.
It's about changing attitudes through education and, where that doesn't work, changing them through punishment.

So why am I getting hot under the collar about this particular issue?
Well, I think it's because every time I got out on the roads, and particularly when I'm driving up and down the M6 (which I tend to do most weeks), I see people texting and I see people talking animatedly on the phone.
You can tell them from a distance.
There are those who think that texting or talking is fine so long as you pull into the 'slow lane' and drive along at 45 mph…of course, these people are blissfully unaware of how much frustration they cause to the line of HGV drivers who, doing 56 mph, have to pull out to overtake them.
Then there are those who think it's best to plop themselves in the middle lane and maintain a distance of about ten feet behind the vehicle in front of them, irrespective of how fast they are actually travelling.
Of course, there are those who think it's safest (and this is especially the case for drivers of Audis, VWs, BMWs and Mercedes) to power along at 100+ mph in the fast lane whilst gesticulating wildly or pointing a finger aggressively at the invisible person on the other end of the phone.
And finally, there's the guys in the vans, texting their mates - you can spot them by the tell-tale shifts in direction that they make every time they glance up from their phone - these over-corrections are always a little exaggerated, as if the van is bouncing off invisible barriers on each side of the lane they're in.

All of these people are fucking idiots!
They're also all potential killers!

I've only ever once answered the phone whilst driving (a few years ago now), and that was via handsfree - fortunately, the friend who was calling me immediately asked if I was driving (they could hear the background noise) and, when I said I was, they told me I was a muppet (or words to that effect) and then told me to ring them back when I'd pulled into a service station.
That was a proper friend!
It's something we all should get into the habit of doing - if your phoning someone and you hear the distant roar, ask whether they're driving and, if they are, tell them they're being bloody stupid answering the phone, and hang up!
If you're in a text conversation with someone and you suspect they may be on the road…stop texting!!

And if you still need any convincing that these are the right things to do, watch this video!