Now there’s a statement that would make most normal, rational people not unreasonably recoil in horror. However, police officers are civil servants too and there is a very strong case for plenty more blue on the streets. It is reported that drivers are making calls, taking selfies and tweeting behind the wheel in record numbers.
That’s astonishing and for more than one reason. First, it seems that some 11m people used a phone at the wheel for whatever purpose in the last twelve months and that’s astonishing. Yet using a mobile phone while driving is the biggest gripe that British motorists have. That’s astonishing too because those figures kind of imply that we say one thing and do another.
It is an action that is against the law whether an individual likes it or not. The government is, in this case, rightly taking action and is looking into doubling the size of the penalty for those so caught. Some people obviously believe that accidents, “won’t happen to them”; but it will.
Research has found reaction times for drivers using a phone were 30% slower than those who had exceeded the current drink drive limit! Crash statistics also show that in 2014 a driver impaired or distracted by their handsets was identified as a “contributory factor” in 21 road deaths and 384 serious accidents in the UK. Apparently those well-publicised stats are still not enough to deter idiots.
It doesn’t end there. It can be assumed that all who work in the motor trade and those car consumers who use company vehicle must drive a lot. We all see incidences of bad driving and no doubt complain about it. Tail-gating and middle-lane hogging; not using indicators or thinking that ‘as long as I put the indicator on I can pull out regardless’ are all on the rise. Essentially people know they are more than likely to get away with it and driving standards are suffering accordingly.
It is not enough for the ‘authorities’ to rely on money-making speed cameras. They may help control speed that they do nothing at all for driving standards. The only answer is for many more blue-clad civil servants on the streets. Back in the day when traffic cops ruled the roads, the sight of a police car in a lay-by was enough to make people stop behaving in a reckless or stupid fashion and actually put a little thought into their driving.
There are now moves afoot to make the driving test harder to match traffic conditions on our roads today. Tough on the newbies perhaps but absolutely necessary. Couple this with more police and we might find that people start taking a bit more care and pride in their driving. That’s got to be good for all and it is up to the motor industry to take the lead. Geoff Maxted