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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 23:57 
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Yesterday's "MEN" 's headline (and carried by the tabloids today.. :wink: )


Salesman Keith P could not believe it when pulled in Warrington .. for tucking into his Cheshire cheese and pickle sandwich. He was told he had

Quote:

fallen foul of the tough new penalties for drivers holding handy held mobile phones. :roll:


Keith was given a producer and ordered to report at his nearest station with all his documents.. and was told that the new rules apply to eating and drinking behind the wheel as well as taking and receiving calls.

But.. OK.. apart from the odd sucky sweet or chocs.. I do not eat butties, cakes, apples or swig water or pop whilst driving. I happen to like a stop.. a leg stretch .. and usually I have eaten properly anyway .. I don;t need snacks as such. But .. :?


In all the hype over the hands held mobile phone laws .. I do not recall seeing that much to warn drivers that this also applied to taking a chomp from a Mars Bar whilst driving. (I concede that the Ploughman's Wedge per the press photo was a bit on "big side" :wink:) .

Keith wrote:

In my mind I was completely in control of the vehicle. You see other people putting on their make-up behind the wheel


:lol: I bet that got the female support. (He's only young.. aged 29. Word of advice.. if you value your life.. don't tell wimmin about time taken to put on make-up :yikes: I have sisters .. they once thumped me for removing the light bulbs in their rooms. :roll: when we were in our teens/early twenties :yikes:)

Not my wife though .. she does not need much make-up beyond "traditonal" lippy anyway :lol: (Have to say that or she'll claw me :wink:)

Keith in a right cheese and pickle wrote:

I've never been pulled over by the police before and I think 3 points on my licence is a bit much.


It seems Salford lad Keith was travelling between two supermarkets when he began to chomp at the £2 muffin. As he drove his company owned Astra along the A49 (Lythgoes Lane) .. he was caught in a police operation to "cop drivers on their phones!"

Keith getting into a cheese and pickle wrote:

The Cheshire policeman stepped in front of my car


:yikes: Er .. that was a bit risky really.. :wink:

Quote:


and pulled me over. He said I had committed an offence just as serious as chatting on my mobile. When I queried this.. he said eating and drinking at the wheel of a car was driving without due care and attention.



The paper reports that this penalty caused surprise when he produced his documents at his local (GMP) station. The officer behind the desk could not believe he had been given a fixed penalty for eating a muffin whilst driving.


:lol: IG had better stop calling himself a "stud muffin" :popcorn:



But the DfT claimed Cheshire police had acted "correctly" - telling reporter Alan Salter that

Quote:

you are not in control of the car if you are reading a map or eating and drinking at the wheel of the car. Reasearch by Dr Young of Brunel University in London says that the results of their experiment strongly indicate that eating and drinking whilst driving increases the risk of a crash


Not blipping over a speed limit then.. :wink:

Quote:

Drivers may not perceive the risk to be any higher than any other car tasks .. but the impaired reactions combined with workloads suggest drivers should exert caution


Which is not the same thing as saying in concrete terms that eating .. say a pack of crisps or some sweeties .. causes an accident. Just that it could compromise COAST skills and thus perhaps increase risk marginally :wink: A Handy phone is different in that concentration is taken by holding the pesky thing to the ear .. and concentrating on the conversation - which is not the same as with person in the car with you.

I personally would not eat a sandwich or anything like whilst driving as I like to enjoy my food.. but do have the odd sucky sweet. :wink:

I comment more the less than conclusive and probably even "out of context" extract from the research - not by the journalist who is perhaps reporting from his interview notes - but by the DfT (Perhaps Paul might like to ask the journalist for this source ..for his research purposes. )


Cheshire police meanwhile defend their action:

Cheshire police in the Manchester paper wrote:

Much publicity has been given to the recent changes in penalties for using a mobile phone whilst driving. The law also covers offences relating to not being in proper control of their vehicles and not concentrating on the road.

This covers anything which takes concentration from the road. and increases the dangers to others on the roads Drivers need to be aware that they are liable to a fixed penalty if anything diverts their attention from the road


Well.. we have always blathered on about C in COAST :wink: but even so.. Whilst C also stands for Courtesy/consideration which complement the "relaxed concentration" - it also stands for basic COMMON SENSE!

Whilst I do not condone Keith's chomping away at a wedge of what I normally associate with "cardboard" (He did say it was not a particularly good butty in the nationals :lol:) - I do think that given the emphasis on the phone issue .. and perhaps a lack of awareness that this also includes eating a butty at the wheel.. justice in this instance might have been better served by pointing this nuance in interpretation of this law to him.. and spelling out COAST properly to him.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 00:31 
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So wait a tick; I have not read this new 'Mobile Phone' legislation, but does it simply serve the purpose of allowing 'the authorities' to issue fixed penalty offers to alleged offenders who would otherwise be taken to court and charged with careless/dangerous driving?

I already thought it sucked, but if so it sucks even more! Previously a professional had to be of the opinion that your driving was impaired, whether you were doing something behind the wheel or just being crap. Now you only have to be guilty of doing something behind the wheel and it's a fixed penalty (with the threat of a larger penalty if you argue the toss) regardless of whether or not that something constitutes a hazard.

Food for thought: In 100% of road accidents involving a motor vehicle, at least one of the parties involved had their keys in the ignition of their vehicle. The greatest improvement possible in road safety would be realised by banning motor vehicle owners from inserting their keys into the ignition.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 02:35 
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Safe Speed issued a (rather late) PR on this story at 15:45 Friday:

PR455: It's all in the mind says Safe Speed

news: for immediate release

According to the BBC, motorist Keith Pemberton, has been given three penalty
points by police for driving while eating a sandwich. Cheshire constabulary are
quoted as saying: "He cannot have had full control of his vehicle if he was
eating a sandwich at the same time."

Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed road safety campaign
(www.safespeed.org.uk) said: "Cases like this illustrate the gulf between
'official road safety' and real road safety. It is vital that drivers are in
proper control of their vehicles, but proper control is a state of mind, not a
simple matter of what drivers are doing with their hands."

"The problem is that driving is largely a subconscious and highly skilled
activity. The authorities can't see it or define it, so instead they seize upon
what they can see."

"Eating a sandwich while driving can be safe or dangerous. It depends on the
circumstances and what the driver is paying attention to."

"Road safety is in a very bad way - the authorities need to move away from
their over-simplified dogma and start asking skilled drivers what is safe and
what is not. The gap is enormous."

<ends>

Notes for editors
=================

BBC news report:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/mers ... 434601.stm

The current rate of fatal crashes on UK roads is 1 death per 100 million miles
travelled. Many of the deaths we do have are caused by 'extreme' behaviour
(drunks, stolen cars, young reckless drivers showing off, nutty bikers seeking
thrills and so on.) For the rest of us the risk of causing a serious crash is
tiny, probably less than once in 200 million miles. The authorities are paying
NO ATTENTION WHATSOEVER to the SKILLED HUMAN BEHAVIOUR that provides the
foundations for this amazing safety record.

Safe Speed recommends MIND DRIVING by Stephen Haley:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/redirect.htm ... 3371160%2F

==================

Come on folks, this 'not eating a sandwich' is pure 'let's pretend' road safety isn't it? I'm going to set up a poll...

edit: I have and it's here: http://www.safespeed.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12813

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 10:11 
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thats a very well written pr.

there is world of difference between holding a conversation (even hands free) and eating. You are not even using the same part of the brain.

Rediculous

It seems once again we are focused on finding the minor issues that we can fix rather than focusing on the real causes of accidents that require a little more thought


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 00:22 
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diy wrote:
thats a very well written pr.

there is world of difference between holding a conversation (even hands free) and eating. You are not even using the same part of the brain.

Rediculous

It seems once again we are focused on finding the minor issues that we can fix rather than focusing on the real causes of accidents that require a little more thought

I agree that the PR is very good.
diy's response is right on the button too.

Will it soon be illegal to pick one's nose whilst driving?
What about biting one's nails?
FFS :(


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 00:53 
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Oh dear. The days of the car radio are well and truly numbered! :roll:


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 01:21 
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So if you get an itch in your nose from an nose hair.... do you scratch it and risk a ticket, or leave it alone and risk it might make you sneeze, lose control and crash????? :?

Are Tetra radios exempt because by some miracle they dont have the same effect as a normal phone? 8-)

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:07 
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Mole wrote:
Oh dear. The days of the car radio are well and truly numbered! :roll:

not if the buttons are on your wheel.

Ernest Marsh wrote:
Are Tetra radios exempt because by some miracle they dont have the same effect as a normal phone? 8-)

yes, we all like to bring up the "f*ck the police" attitude. Yes, let's turn off the emergency services radios. That will make the world better.
Does anyone really believe that the way these are used is in any way similar to 30 million muppets holding in depth conversations on their mobiles about the state of Aunt Doris' health?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:40 
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johnsher wrote:
Does anyone really believe that the way these are used is in any way similar to 30 million muppets holding in depth conversations on their mobiles about the state of Aunt Doris' health?


No, but I bet it is worse than eating a biscuit while driving 100 miles in a straight line, or drinking water while stopped at lights. I've no problem with people being charged if their driving is careless or their is evidence they are not in control, but having one hand off the wheel is not sufficient.

Quote:
yes, we all like to bring up the "f*ck the police" attitude.


Hardly surprising, considering some senior police officers are enganged in a war on drivers, and sometimes it seem like it's against honest folk in general. They must have realised this would lead to a change in attitudes. Once you switch from protecting the general public to stompin gon them at every oppurtunity, then you can't complain when those same people no longer support you.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:45 
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johnsher wrote:

...Does anyone really believe that the way these are used is in any way similar to 30 million muppets holding in depth conversations on their mobiles about the state of Aunt Doris' health?

In the real world of course not, but going by their increasingly petty rules then the answer would have to be "yes".

If these rules say that (for instance) cruising down the M6 at 70mph holding a Mars Bar in one hand is dangerous, then how much more dangerous is holding an important conversation using a police radio whilst following a suspect at speed down a busy road - maybe even at speeds in excess of the limit?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:45 
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Easy there john! I don't know what it is about this case that's pushed your buttons, but there's no need to be snippy.

I think an issue is that mobiles are perfectly able to be used in a similar fashion to Tetra radios, for concise, necessary communication when it is safe to do so. It is not the case that they necessarily always will, or even that the radios are always used in this responsible manner. The existing legislation allowed for action to be taken when the use of the phone, or anything else, constituted a danger on the roads, and yet, quite sensibly, made no issue if it was conducted safely.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to have flashy cars with steering wheel mounted stereo controls, and yet still enjoy music or radio in the car. How far does this situation need to be extrapolated before people will see how daft it is? As long as the vehicle is under the driver's control, and their mind is suitably focussed on the task of driving, then nothing they do, or don't do, will affect the accident risk worth a damn. Making sure they touch nothing but the vehicle controls will not stop a crash through inattention, or speedo watching, nor will sipping a can of coke on the motorway cause the car to spear off across 4 lanes of traffic, killing or maiming every schoolchild in a 50 mile radius.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 13:33 
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JT wrote:
how much more dangerous is holding an important conversation using a police radio whilst following a suspect at speed down a busy road - maybe even at speeds in excess of the limit?

isn't the majority of that "conversation" just commentary from the driver or do the cops really engage in mindless banter while in pursuit?

RobinXe wrote:
Easy there john! I don't know what it is about this case that's pushed your buttons, but there's no need to be snippy.

it's because the same pathetic excuses get trotted out every time this subject is raised.
"but my driving is perfect so I can do what I want" or alternatively
"I've driven 10 billion miles (usually in some ridiculously short period of time) and never had an accident, so I can do what I want"
and when that fails
"how come they're allowed to do it if I'm not"

RobinXe wrote:
I think an issue is that mobiles are perfectly able to be used in a similar fashion to Tetra radios, for concise, necessary communication when it is safe to do so.

yes but they're not.

RobinXe wrote:
Not all of us are fortunate enough to have flashy cars with steering wheel mounted stereo controls, and yet still enjoy music or radio in the car.

I was under the impression that this feature was available in all but the current budget range of cars. Still, to claim that you can't enjoy music in the car because you can't touch the radio WHILE DRIVING is totally ludicrous. How often do you change stations or adjust the volume? In my case around town it's pretty rare. For pretty much everyone I've ever driven with it's the same. So I'm left with driving down a motorway between towers. My current car tunes the stations for me so I can select what's available. Before I had this feature I'd stick a tape in on long drives because I knew I wouldn't be able to tune the radio on the move. It's not difficult - especially now that you can have your entire music collection available in-car via an ipod (or similar) - and no, you don't need a flashy car to do this. Mine connects via the tape deck.




RobinXe wrote:
As long as the vehicle is under the driver's control, and their mind is suitably focussed on the task of driving

your definition of suitably is probably somewhat different to the average person's definition of suitably.

RobinXe wrote:
Making sure they touch nothing but the vehicle controls will not stop a crash through inattention

no, you're right, but how do you get it out to the masses that they need to pay attention to their driving and not be fiddling with other stuff?
Just for fun, take the "harmless" ploughman that started this thread. Let's imagine the likely scenario that something drops out of his sandwich onto his lap. What's his instinctive reaction going to be and how exactly is he going to achieve this with one hand holding a sandwich and one on the wheel?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 14:41 
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johnsher wrote:
JT wrote:
how much more dangerous is holding an important conversation using a police radio whilst following a suspect at speed down a busy road - maybe even at speeds in excess of the limit?

isn't the majority of that "conversation" just commentary from the driver or do the cops really engage in mindless banter while in pursuit?



I think it's a bit like the old running commentary which we used to have to give on the old IAM tests.


Just explaining what we do and this is more focusing on the drive than on the normal "drivel" per the average mobile phone conversation. :wink:


Quote:
RobinXe wrote:
Easy there john! I don't know what it is about this case that's pushed your buttons, but there's no need to be snippy.

it's because the same pathetic excuses get trotted out every time this subject is raised.
"but my driving is perfect so I can do what I want" or alternatively
"I've driven 10 billion miles (usually in some ridiculously short period of time) and never had an accident, so I can do what I want"
and when that fails
"how come they're allowed to do it if I'm not"





Tis a little complacent perhaps. I think the issue is really how far the phone or butty erodes the concentration or compromises steering in the case of the "chunky" in this story. It was that quarter flour cake wedge which a certain supermarket (the dominating one at moment) sells. :roll:

Like my wife .. I prefer to eat at table with the family or if we are out .. we stop in a "nice area" for a picnic in the car :lol: with engine switched off completely and keys OUT of ignition too.

But our cars are not an extension of our home or offices. Pure pleasuremobiles :wink: which happen to get us to and from work :wink:


Quote:
RobinXe wrote:
I think an issue is that mobiles are perfectly able to be used in a similar fashion to Tetra radios, for concise, necessary communication when it is safe to do so.

yes but they're not.


True. :wink:

Quote:
RobinXe wrote:
Not all of us are fortunate enough to have flashy cars with steering wheel mounted stereo controls, and yet still enjoy music or radio in the car.

I was under the impression that this feature was available in all but the current budget range of cars. Still, to claim that you can't enjoy music in the car because you can't touch the radio WHILE DRIVING is totally ludicrous. How often do you change stations or adjust the volume? In my case around town it's pretty rare. For pretty much everyone I've ever driven with it's the same. So I'm left with driving down a motorway between towers. My current car tunes the stations for me so I can select what's available. Before I had this feature I'd stick a tape in on long drives because I knew I wouldn't be able to tune the radio on the move. It's not difficult - especially now that you can have your entire music collection available in-car via an ipod (or similar) - and no, you don't need a flashy car to do this. Mine connects via the tape deck .



I have one of those doo-dahs in the Classics.

But ..OK .. so my steering wheel allows me to play with the in-car entertainment toys via my thumb :wink: but I tend to stick with R2 and Wogan on the drive to work.. and Classic FM or just one fave CD on the way home. I do not mind listening to the same CD twice on this journey. I seldom change stations or the volume ./. especially if it's the radio as the radio usually plays a variety of decent-ish music and news items.. if tuned to sort of stations you prefer.

The more budget cars we bought for the kittens are less "flash" than the mean machines which Wildy and myself favour :lol: - but even so.. they came equipped with a fairly decent manufacturers' audio system and our kids are quite happy enough with these. They also tend to stick to one fave radio station on each journey .. and burn a selection of faves onto CDs so they have a variety of their fave tunes on one CD to just vary things on occasion. But they do not change CDs or tapes when on the move. They do as taught by us and initiate any desired change on a "pit stop" :lol:

Quote:

RobinXe wrote:
As long as the vehicle is under the driver's control, and their mind is suitably focussed on the task of driving

your definition of suitably is probably somewhat different to the average person's definition of suitably.




Relaxed concentration. Being absorbed in the drive in a relaxed fashion.

You cannot really do this and eat a meal or hold a deep phone conversation. A sucky sweet or a short snappy "call ya later" on thge hands free is acceptable.

Quote:
RobinXe wrote:
Making sure they touch nothing but the vehicle controls will not stop a crash through inattention

no, you're right, but how do you get it out to the masses that they need to pay attention to their driving and not be fiddling with other stuff?
Just for fun, take the "harmless" ploughman that started this thread. Let's imagine the likely scenario that something drops out of his sandwich onto his lap. What's his instinctive reaction going to be and how exactly is he going to achieve this with one hand holding a sandwich and one on the wheel?


Yep.. Branston will make a mess of the seat and the trousers :wink:

I think perhaps he would do better just to have some seedless grapes on the passenger seat which he can just pick in much the same way as when changing gear. To hand .. and accessible without taking eyes off the road. If one really does need to eat and drink at the wheel :wink:

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 22:43 
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johnsher wrote:
Ernest Marsh wrote:
Are Tetra radios exempt because by some miracle they dont have the same effect as a normal phone? 8-)

yes, we all like to bring up the "f*ck the police" attitude. Yes, let's turn off the emergency services radios. That will make the world better.
Does anyone really believe that the way these are used is in any way similar to 30 million muppets holding in depth conversations on their mobiles about the state of Aunt Doris' health?

I have no complaint about police using radios - I presume if it was in the slightest bit dangerous, they would break off until it was safe to resume the conversation.
I also dont see the point in having a telephone conversation in my car - but I WOULD expect a police officer to view ANY action while driving in terms of actual risk instead of perceived risk, which seems to be the way of things everywhere now.

We all like to think that if we were talking on the phone, or eating a sandwich, we would drop it if a situation arose which required both hands and maximum attention - but it's like braking distance - you need to factor in a reaction time, and from the drivers I see on the phone, that isn't going to anything like enough.

But hey, what do I know - I live in an area of rural roads, sudden bends, walls bounding the road which bulge out unexpectedly in certain weather because they are not cemented, just "piles" of stones. When I see white van man coming towards me as he exits the bend in front of me, with one hand on the wheel, and the other clutching the phone to his ear - it's nearly always ME who avoids the collision, not the other way around. If I lived in Birmingham or Surrey, I might well have an altogether different experience! :idea: :idea:

On a long straight road with few hazards, then drivers might well be capable of using a phone safely - but they are not allowed the chance to prove this, and the police should adopt handsfree, and not be seen departing from the advice they give motorists whom they pull over and prosecute.
I should say I have not observed Police drivers in Cumbria using hand held sets - not sure if it is policy or not.

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