DRIVERS TO BE JAILED FOR THE SHEER HELL OF IT

12 09 2007

The government is set to introduce controversial new vehicle laws that will bans items and procedures that may cause a distraction to the driver.

The list of nearly 30 items to warrant a possible ban and imprisonment includes CD players, cup holders, air conditioning and rear-view mirrors.

Motorists will also be prosecuted for idly glancing at their speedometer, or daydreaming about whether their children will grow up to be happy.

Transport minister Dr Stephen Ladyman said those who flouted the law were “selfishly” endangering others, but a drivers’ group criticised the move.

In 2006, 27 deaths and nearly 700 injuries were blamed on drivers using an FM radio. Three deaths alone were caused by drivers impatiently retuning from Radio 2 when Jeremy Vine’s lunchtime show began.

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Dr Ladyman said the new penalties would be combined with a “hard-hitting” television campaign.

“We have been working with the constabularies around the country, so that they are ready to help us enforce it.”

“Any item or procedure found to be causing a reasonable distraction while a vehicle is in transit – be it opening the sunroof or changing gear – may see drivers in court and, in severe cases, beheaded in public.”

Inspector Douglas Kirkham, from Lothian and Borders Road Policing Branch, warned drivers could be prosecuted if they were wearing uncomfortable clothing, or observing the road ahead for too long.

He said: “If you stare at the sight in front of you for too long, you are distracted, and therefore not in proper control of your vehicle, and an offence will have been committed.”

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