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Even worse than being a pedestrian these days is to find oneself sitting in back of a taxi with driver who feels urge to converse not with you but with his mobile! Suddenly from being a normal driver who bores his passengers to tears with stories of his economic plight or Liverpool’s recent football score, emerges a maniac of WW11 convoy evasion tactical ability! The driver suddenly decides that any action of foot on gas peddle must be immediately followed by one on brake and passengers find themselves alternately with their heads embedded into seat in front or their bodies lying twisted and mangled against rear window! From a driver, who although was naturally aggressive in his driving managed with skill to avoid others, emerges a monster. A massive monster who will play head on “who will brake first” games with a speeding tank, who will assume that spaces size of a shopping trolley will mysteriously expand if he gets enough speed up and who considers that all other drivers are mere figments of his imagination!
Indeed mobile phone driving syndrome situation is far worse than authorities, governments, Ray, Japanese Police and bored or underpaid scientist’s state. This maybe due to fact that most of above mentioned bodies and groups tend to use their very own mobile phones whilst driving to work every day so ……….can’t make too much noise now can they!
One country is stepping up its efforts to clamp down on this new menace! The UK! As of 2005 drivers caught using mobile phones will be immediately fined 60 pounds and have three penalty points on their driving licenses! In fact Ms Janet Anderson, MP for Rose and Darwin ( a couple of houses in England connected by a single lane dirt track) clapped her hands in delight upon receiving a report that hands-free kits (once heralded as a safe alternative) were nearly as dangerous as actual hand-held phones! She went on a bit further to say that, “it must be made crystal clear to drivers who insist on behaving in this way that they endanger safety of public generally and their own safety too”! Yippee!
Still in UK - recent tests at Transport Research Laboratory have shown that drivers on mobiles have a slower reaction time and stopping time than those under influence of alcohol! It does not really take a team of highly paid scientists and many pounds later to figure that one out: it is blatantly obvious that a driver under influence will be applying every ounce of his available concentration on his driving, albeit slightly misguided, whilst a driver on his mobile will not be concentrating at all! But findings of this year long study did place in writing some much needed data and statistics that can now be used and wielded by those trying to clamp down on menace! At last some hard evidence!
Hopefully future will change people’s attitudes regarding mobile phone usage! Hopefully normal people will not feel urge to be in contact 24/7, will not suffer withdrawal symptoms should they be disconnected for a nanosecond and be able to not answer a ringing phone – in fact it would be superb if people could actually switch mobile phones off sometimes!
But this is way, way, way into future! As far away as us conversing with aliens from planet “zong” in “xzihngty” galaxy about them trying to eat us for breakfast! In meantime it will be up to governments and introduction of new laws to clamp down on menace and thus make drivers think twice before answering or making calls whilst on move!
Maybe answer is not to punish drivers through penalty points on their license or threat of paltry monetary fines:
“You have been found guilty by this court of talking on a cell phone whilst driving. You will from this day forth not be allowed to own, borrow, use or even look at a mobile phone, PDF or portable communication device for a period of ten years. Additionally you will complete three months of community service upon completion of which you will attend counseling in “how to survive on this planet without being in constant touch”. Upon completion of this course you will then attend a four week course titled, “how to use a phone that is connected to a land line”. Take him away boys!
The only crisis left to solve would then be to clamp down on those drivers who insist on doing a full make-over in rear-view mirror whilst doing 60MPH through a built up area! To put a halt to business men who assume that drivers’ seats are wonderful places to shave, rinse and swallow! To convince short sighted people that, “cleaning ones specs” by removing them and whilst navigating a hair bend in icy conditions is not really sensible. Oh, and that various forms of sexual attention might be pleasurable at time but not when subsequently wrapped around a lamppost or underneath an HGV still doing 60MPH down freeway!
When these drivers have had their shaving kits and make up bags confiscated and are safely tucked away behind bars then it might be safe for average pedestrian to step foot outside once again and with confidence, without fear of being mowed down by cars driven by self-engrossed and selfish drivers who assume that conversation they are currently having is more important than life!
Author and Webmaster of Seamania. As a Chief Engineer in the Merchant Navy he has sailed the world for fifteen years. Now living in Taiwan he writes about cultures across the globe and life as he sees it.