Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cop this

Interesting conversation on the way home.  Some cop spouting bollocks on talk radio about the evils of mobile phone use in cars, usual weak arguments about safety etc.  I couldn't resist calling their call line.  Conversation is about as close as I can recall it.



Me:  So why exactly is talking on a mobile while driving dangerous?


Cop:  You could be distracted away from your primary responsibility, driving safely.


Me:  So talking while driving is dangerous?


Cop:  No, the use of the handheld mobile is dangerous.


Me:  And it's still OK for me to use a handsfree to talk while driving?


Cop:  Yes.


Me:  And it's legal for me to fiddle with my stereo, change the CD etc while driving?


Cop:  We don't recommend it.


Me:  Is it illegal?


Cop:  At the moment, no.


Me:  Is it legal for me to hold something else while I'm driving?  For instance, a piece of wood?  Or a pen?  Or a keyring?


Cop:  Yes.


Me:  So the talking isn't dangerous, the holding or manipulating the object isn't dangerous, but the combination somehow is?


Cop:  Yes, you're not allowed to talk on a handheld mobile while driving.


Me:  So is the mobile somehow an inherently evil object?  Or a weapon of mass distraction?


Cop:  Studies have proven mobile phone use while driving is distracting and leads to higher accident rates, which is why the law is there.


Me:  What if I take the SIM card out of the phone, or the battery?  Is it still a mobile?  Is the device still legally a phone if it's no longer capable of making a phone call?


Cop:  No, but what would be the point of that?


Me:  Bear with me for a moment.  So you agree that a mobile phone that can't make a phone call is not inherently a risk to safe driving in of itself?


Cop:  No, why?


Me:  Because I'd like your public official answer whether it's legal to have a conversation going on a mobile via a handsfree, and at the same time just hold a second dead mobile which is totally incapable of making a call.  This precisely simulates the situation which you say is dangerous and distracting, but yet it's apparently completely legal, and I therefore presume safe in the eyes of the police, correct?


Cop:  Erm....


Me:  Because you were talking earlier about how the law was tightened in 2009 to remove all the loopholes, so naturally you got them all, didn’t you?  By the way, did you know I’m talking on my mobile while driving?  I’ve made it through rush hour from Albert Park to Caulfield while talking to you, seems safe enough to me if I can debate a senior police officer to a standstill while doing so.


Radio DJ:  And we'll be right back after these messages!

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