Driven to distraction

Covered mag, presented by
  • | by Kristian Dando
What can and can’t you do behind the wheel of a car without getting arrested? It’s a question many of us put to the test each and every day during our daily commute. It’s not uncommon to see fellow drivers tucking into a spot of breakfast on the go, slurping a super-sized coffee or applying make-up, and often demonstrating a kamikaze ‘no hands’ driving technique. It’s something we’ve all probably been guilty of at one time or another. But by doing so, we run the risk of hurting ourselves or somebody else, not to mention falling foul of the law. Explicit laws have been made about speaking on a phone or texting whilst on the road, but when it comes to other activities, it seems like what is and isn’t permissible is at the discretion of the police. The Highway code states that drivers must not drive dangerously, drive without due care and attention, or drive without reasonable consideration for other road users. It also outlines some of the distractions that drivers should avoid, including listening to loud music, attempting to read a map, fiddling with the stereo, smoking, eating and drinking and arguing with passengers or other road users - though it stops short of advising what topics are safe for debate. Roads policing chief inspector at Gwent Police, John Pavett told News: “We’ve had offences identified ranging from not wearing a seatbelt, to texting or speaking on mobile phones, to more obscure things like reading a book and in one case, a driver flossing their teeth. The potential risks these offences pose shouldn’t be underestimated and although they are only committed by a minor segment of the motoring public, all drivers should be reminded that even if they consider themselves to be experienced, competent drivers, it only takes a couple of seconds for their attention to be distracted and the consequences could be extremely serious.”