Road safety charity BRAKE call for drink driving to be legalised.

I think I've got the title right there. Apparently, drink driving is no more dangerous than having a conversation with your passenger. I'll explain.

I was watching an old re-run of Police, Camera, Action on the telly earlier. I was having tea with Mrs Bucko when the program we were watching finished, and neither of us could reach the remote so we ended up watching that old bollocks for a bit.

Telly programs about cops are naff at best, but this one really takes the lameness cake.

"Sgt Smith thinks he's just seen someone who may not be wearing a sealbelt". Score! Oh lordy.

As part of this evenings wankfest, they were doing a bit on drivers who use mobile phones. Most of it was video footage of people using a phone and doing no harm to anyone. There were some who turned out not be be harming anyone by also having no insurance as well as using the blower, and there were one or two good crashes that showed us dangerous driving is more harmful than using a phone / having no insurance / not wearing a seatbelt / doing 31.5 in a 30 zone or having one of those little nodding Churchill dogs on the parcel shelf.

Somewhere during the abject boredom, we were told that even using a handsfree phone while driving is dangerous. Apparently research has shown that using a hands free kit in the car is more dangerous than drink driving. I had a gob full of Cumberland sausage at the time so didn't pay much attention, but I've done a quick Google thingy.

Sure enough, here it is, courtesy of the Daily Wail in Feb 2009.

Hands-free mobile phones are 'more dangerous than drink-driving'

Wowee. So just how dangerous are they? You have both hands on the wheel. They love that, even though you need one hand to keep changing gear, and any defensive driving course will teach you to always keep one hand on the gear stick. All you are doing is talking. It's just like having a conversation with your passenger.

Therefore, being pissed up behind the wheel can be no more dangerous than having a chat with the Mrs in the passenger seat. As talking is not illegal, should drink driving also be legal?

Alright, I've taken a bit of a leap there. Obviously that is not where they are going with this research, is it?


Motorists who talk on hands-free phones are more dangerous than drink-drivers, experts have warned.
Drivers using the legal alternative to hand-held mobiles are 30 per cent slower to react than those slightly over the limit, tests found.

Should the limit be raised or hands free kits be banned?


Maggie Game of insurer Direct Line, which commissioned all the research, said: 'This study will understandably come as a shock to many drivers who currently use a hands-free device to comply with the law.

'Given that drink-driving was responsible for 14,480 casualties, including 460 deaths, on the road in 2007, the potential for casualties from mobile-phone use is frightening.

Nope, studies like this have ceased to be a shock to me, just like studies on smoking causing ingrowing toenails have likewise ceased to shock.

Note how she talks of the "potential for casualties" and doesn't give figures? A quick Google thingy doesn't help. There are statistics for accidents caused by using phones and some for drink driving but nothing about hands free kits. And "potential" isn't really frightening to me. Actual incidents of dangerous driving that cause accidents; they're frightening. The potential of something that might happen given the correct set of variables? Nah, I don't tend to get frightened by that.

Hopefully now that drivers are aware of the dangers inherent in the use of hands-free mobile phones whilst driving, the act of having any but the most crucial conversations will take on the status of a social taboo in much the same way that drink-driving has.'

Oh please! I was so wrong, they don't want to legalise drink driving at all. They want to turn talking into a social taboo on a par with pissed up motoring.

That sucks. Do they want folk to call the police if they see someone getting into a car while talking. Or taking drivers keys off them for jabbering, because that's the kind of thing folk do when they encounter someone drink driving. Are we creating a new offence of being a motormouth? I digress
The road safety charity Brake said the findings reinforce its calls for a complete ban on all phone use while driving.

If anyone should shut the fuck up, it's the road safety charity Brake.

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