Monday, May 14, 2007

Driving us to distraction

Yet another one of these interfering, busybody arseholes who seem to be infesting this once-great country of ours has spoken out on a matter of national importance.
Road safety officers are calling on the government to ban smoking behind the wheel to cut the number of accidents.

Simon Ettinghausen, of the Local Authority Road Safety Officers' Association, said smoking was a dangerous distraction.

Mr Ettinghausen said: "Anything you do in the car is a distraction, whether it's eating, drinking, using a mobile phone or smoking. But smoking in particular can be very dangerous."

"If you drop a lit cigarette, your concentration on driving will immediately vanish."

Is it really? Notsaussure points out that some evidence would be nice.
Well, quite possibly so, and I’m sure he can provide — though they’re nowhere mentioned in the BBC report — figures about the number of accidents a year he thinks are caused by people losing their concentration because they’ve dropped a cigarette, along with figures for similar mishaps caused by drivers becoming distracted because their children are having a fight in the back, or a wasp has flown in to the car — happened to my late mother once, in her younger days, on the M1 and the damn thing stung her; ban driving with open windows immediately — or any number of such contingencies. Why on earth, though, start going on about banning it rather than, as would be perfectly reasonable, just reminding drivers it’s probably a better idea if they refrain from smoking while they’re driving? Indeed, such a statement might even include a reminder about the perfectly good law we’ve already got about driving without due care and attention.

Well, Simon, shall I tell you what I find the single, most distracting thing is when I'm driving?

Speed cameras.

Yes, that's right; the only times that I have come close to having an accident in the last decade or so is because I am constantly watching the bloody speedometer to ensure that I am not going to get flashed by one of the police's fucking revenue-raisers.

And almost everyone I've ever spoken to agrees with me; if you are looking at your speedo, then you aren't looking at the road. And these things aren't in a few spots anymore, they're fucking everywhere. Thus one is constantly looking at one's speedo and that ten seconds that you spend doing so can mean the difference between hitting something and not. And that something is usually some stupid pedestrian who wasn't checking before they stepped out into the road. Seriously, I'm willing to bet that they are a far bigger contributor to road accidents than smoking in cars.

So, I say that we should ban these dangerous speed cameras right now.


The Remittance Man said...

Reminds me of a chapter in one of P.J. O'Rourke's books:

"How to drive at 90 miles an hour while drinking a beer, smoking a joint and having your wingwang squeezed"

I might have got the exact wording confused, but that was the gist of it, anyway.

Chuck Unsworth said...

So I suppose that completely rules out my usual Taylforth on my way down to the country seat?

xoggoth said...

Don't smoke but sounds like crap to me. Might keep some awake, must more than outweigh the trivial distraction of tapping off a bit of ash occasionally.

Dick Turpin said...

Sounds like kite flying, to address the rising problem of driving while smoking marijuana. Even the Old Bill can spot someone at the wheel knocking back a bottle of Johnny Walker. Not so easy when someone just has a fag in their mouth.

David B. Wildgoose said...

I've got to agree with you about the speed camera comment. There's a world of difference between 34 mph at 6am on a clear morning and 29 mph whilst tailgating in thick fog at school leaving time. But the speed cameras don't get it.

Roger Thornhill said...

I wonder how much urban speeding is because people feel "uneasy" about driving in 4th or the car labours if in 5th at below 30 - "it doesn't feel right" etc. and people want to go faster or have the Pavlovian need to change up to top all the time. Subconsciously they go faster but the law and/or safety often demands they do not.

Robert said...

Easier just to ban driving, surely. That would cut accidents and pollutants, and we would all have to get to know our neighbours a lot better.

Nice redesign, by the way. Torn paper is the New Black.

Anonymous said...

Talk about distraction, I can light a fag, smoke it and put it out in the ashtray without looking at it or concentrating on it.

I definitely think wasps should be the priority here. Once I was driving along on a nice sunny day, window wide open, and a wasp shot in the window, down my t-shirt and stung me repeatedly on the belly button.

Now I can tell you that being stung in the belly button then repeatedly punching yourself in the stomach to annihilate said wasp is many times more distracting than smoking a fucking fag.

Basically if they introduce this law I will deliberately disobey it at all times.

This country is seriously getting to the point of no-return. Someone needs to do something pretty serious. I think Guy Fawkes was onto something you know...

Saltburn subversives said...

Very true. Nice post, but not up to your usual standard. Not enough fucking swearing.

haddock said...

At one time children were taught not to cross the road without looking.... now it is the motorist's fault if a child is injured..... it is called "changeing people's perception" in nulab speak or "brainwashing" in normal language.
I suppose "speed kills" is catchier than "you must be a fucking thicko to run in frony of a car 'cos they're fuckin hard if they hit you"

assegai_mike said...

I shall definitely continue smoking in my little oasis on wheels when (because it will) this law comes in. I'm still not wearing a seatbelt since that particular one was introduced in 1983 (fuck me, time flies). Two fines so far, but both before they introduced points for the "offence".

Anonymous said...

This guy Ettinghausen sounds like a Kraut-
bastards still trying to fight the battes of 1939-1945. Qasn't Hitler anti-smoking

A rubbish fairytale

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