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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

 

How important is it…

I chased a motorist off a taxi rank today. No ticket, just told them they couldn’t stop there. Their snotty response was “Well I’ll just have to break the law by using my phone as I drive then.” Bloody cheek. They were committing a criminal offence by stopping on a taxi rank anyway. Oh, sorry, didn’t you know? It is still a criminal offence in England to park on a taxi rank.

Incidentally, am I missing something? Does your need to make or take a mobile phone call invalidate the Road Traffic Act? Do you get to make that call no matter what? How important is it that you have to make your call right this moment and sod everyone else? Does the law not apply to people who just have to make that mobile call, then? Stupid person.

Speaking as someone who has on three separate occasions almost been involuntarily shuffled off this mortal coil by assholes with mobiles wedged to their ears, the next person I catch like that gets one slapped on the windscreen with no mercy. Don’t even get me started on ringtones. A couple of the guys have invested in the most asinine ringtones available (Always set at maximum volume) which have on several occasions made others (Including my good self) in the mess room request a large hammer to put said device in ‘Silent’ mode, permanently.

Stepping back from full rant mode; lets look at it rationally. Have you ever listened to the majority of people and what they talk about? Nothing of sufficient importance to justify blocking people earning a living or endangering other road users. Most of what they say is inconsequential personal stuff. Very little is of such urgency that it would prove life threatening if the call were postponed.

Don’t agree? Right, I’m going to describe an actual incident from personal experience exactly as it happened. This has given credence to my prejudice.

Several years ago I was working on contract with a company who didn’t mind me turning up to their premises on a big hairy motorcycle. My route took me along wide dual carriageway roads with comparatively light traffic. Safe enough. On this particular morning I had the outside lane all to myself as I was taking the third exit off a roundabout. This roundabout has three northbound lanes, three southbound and one two lane exit eastbound, this being England. I was going to take the eastbound exit. Conditions dry, high angle sunshine with no visibility impairment. I chose my line and entered the junction in the right hand lane. Just as the British Highway Code rule dictates. From my left, a red hatchback, dark haired woman single occupant driver, mobile phone clamped to right ear accelerates across two lanes of traffic and almost forces me up the kerb of the roundabout and into a road sign. Fortunately I am able to brake almost to a standstill while driver of red car clips kerb of roundabout in front of me before leaving on first northbound exit, swerving to left hand lane as she does so. My helmet filled with imprecations as I heaped abuse on the bimbo who had almost knocked me over. I was still fizzing an hour later.

Several years on, I’d still like to strangle that moron. Purely in the interests of road safety you understand. Sterilisation should also be an option.

Since that day, I have been positively convinced that anyone who drives a motor vehicle without a hands free kit is an utter idiot. How about a minor alteration to the law where if a driver is involved in a collision (No such thing as ‘Accidents’) which results in death, an automatic charge of manslaughter should be brought. Anyone whose mobile phone log says that a call was in progress during a collision should be automatically at fault and lose their no claims bonus. At least the people bereaved by such foolishness might feel some sense of justice. Lets have some redress for their victims.

Famous last words heard from rock drummer Cozy Powell while making a call on his mobile phone “Oh shit.”

So is your call that important?

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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