I’ve just read a startling report in today’s Daily Mail (‘the paper that urges everyone to drive in the slow lane’, so we know they favour road safety).
Following an accident on the M1, a lady trucker was badly hurt and trapped in her cab for several hours. Rather than lend a hand, or simply get out of the way so she could be rescued, hundreds of drivers slowed down, whipped out their camera phones and asked her to say ‘cheese’. (A cause normally close to my heart, but not on this occasion.)
Not to be outdone, police – quickly on the scene – whipped out their own cameras and began taking photos of the drivers taking photos. It’s not recorded if the drivers taking photos took any photos of the police taking photos of the drivers taking photos. As most people know, when a policeman yells ‘shoot’, it generally means something else altogether – and it’s advisable to duck. On this occasion, however, I think they were just being silly.
In theory, it’s a criminal offence in the UK to use a mobile phone while driving a vehicle. In practice, however, there are two exceptions.
One is if you knock someone down while distracted. (Killing them is optional, and makes no difference to the court’s approach.) This is viewed as a minor misdemeanour in the UK, for which a judge will normally give you the benefit of the doubt, especially if drink is involved or you don’t have a licence.
The other exception – though I didn’t know it till now – is if you use your phone to take snaps of badly injured women trapped in their trucks awaiting rescue.
Following the incident, police sent letters to all the drivers involved, saying they’d been very naughty but they wouldn’t be taking any action.
Apparently, the decision not to prosecute was, in a police spokesman’s words, ‘a bid to educate drivers about the consequences of using a mobile phone while behind the wheel’. That lesson being, it would seem, that it’s perfectly OK to use a mobile phone and drive at the same time.
He continued: ‘The drivers photographed showed a total disregard for the law’, before adding, ‘But we’re not going to do anything about it’.
That told them.
(Click on above image to enlarge)
Thought for the Day
‘In England, justice is open to all. Like the Ritz Hotel.’
Lord Darling (1849-1936)