Whenever a new technology is introduced it can sometimes take a while for the implications and dangers associated with it to catch up. This was certainly the case with mobile electronic equipment.
When mobile phones were first launched if you were caught using one at the wheel then you’d be liable for prosecution under the 1988 Dangerous Driving Act but years of accidents and warnings over the danger of using a mobile at the wheel led to the introduction of separate legislation.
In 2003 the government brought in new laws to specifically tackle people using handheld mobile phones at the wheel. This made it clearer than ever that driving while using a handheld mobile was totally unacceptable… but did this put an end to the dangerous practice of driving while using electronic equipment?
What do you think?
Tales of stupidity from around our roads
- First up is an iPad loving moron who decided that there was no better time to take to his tablet than while speeding along Scotland’s busiest motorway. We all love Angry Birds but there are more important things to pay attention to when you’re driving along a motorway.
If ignorance is bliss then you can tell this iPad wielding idiot is seriously happy. And to top it off the guy was playing a racing game while doing some seriously irresponsible driving! With any luck, computer games will be the only way he can get behind the wheel of a car for some time…
- During a crackdown on distracted drivers the Hampshire Police Force catalogued a range of dangerous driving, with the majority of offenders using their mobile phones whilst behind the wheel. The most remarkable act of stupidity they came across was perpetrated by a multi-tasking moron who they caught driving while using a laptop… and drinking coffee… and writing down answers to a radio quiz!
There are few words that truly capture such irresponsible behaviour but I imagine some of the motorists who share the road with this character could pick a few choice adjectives. Here’s a quiz question for him or her to consider: What is the maximum prison sentence for causing death by dangerous driving? 14 years in jail and a lifetime of guilt.
- Our final insight into ridiculous driver behaviour entails a divergence from the danger electronic devices can cause. This one is aimed at the people out there who fancy saving themselves a few minutes in the morning by doing their makeup while driving. And there are more of them than you might think.
In 2009 it was reported that half a million road crashes have been caused by women applying makeup behind the wheel. It’s a staggering figure and shocking enough to have moved campaigners to make a video which contains a compelling case for not putting on the slap while driving.
The latest developments
Earlier this year the Metropolitan Police Commissioner called for stiffer penalties for those convicted of driving while using hand held mobiles. The government offered a partial response by increasing the fines attached to sending texts at the wheel. Clearly using any handheld electronic device while at the wheel is dangerous and unacceptable behaviour and hopefully this new measure will help to dissuade drivers from the practice.
Staying safe on the road
The best way to make sure that you’re safe on the roads is by focussing on driving. It’s easy to get complacent and forget the dangers that driving entails but the fact is that thousands of people die as a result of road accidents.
It’s a deadly serious business so remember that your brain is the most important piece of safety equipment your car has but it is a lot less resilient. If your car has a chipped or cracked screen you put it in for windscreen replacement but if you come a cropper on the roads such quick fixes might not be so easily achieved.
What’s the worst piece of driving you’ve seen?
Jake Burrows is a freelance writer on all thins motoring…