What do these people get paid for? Apparently,
Road safety officers are calling on the government to ban smoking behind the wheel to cut the number of accidents.Simon Ettinghausen, of the Local Authority Road Safety Officers’ Association, said smoking was a dangerous distraction.
Obviously the idea’s a non-starter; the report continues with the observation that
the Department for Transport said there were no plans to introduce a ban,
Representatives from the Local Authority Road Safety Officers’ Association are to meet government officials in coming weeks to discuss the proposal.
Well, why? What’s to discuss? All, I would have thought, that’s necessary from the Department of Transport is a polite note thanking Mr Ettinghausen for his suggestion and assuring him that the minister will give it due consideration.
Though in point of fact, I suspect the BBC is making more of it that is actually there; I’m willing to bet, just off the top of my head, that this absurd idea is but one of many measures, some of them doubtless very sensible, in a far more general report that the Road Safety Officers are to present and that, in fact, the specific matter of banning smoking while driving will occupy no more than 30 seconds of anyone’s time.
But why bring it up? As Mr Ettinghausen apparently said,
“Anything you do in the car is a distraction, whether it’s eating, drinking, using a mobile phone or smoking. But smoking in particular can be very dangerous.””If you drop a lit cigarette, your concentration on driving will immediately vanish.”
Well, quite possibly so, and I’m sure he can provide — though they’re nowhere mentioned in the BBC report — figures about the number of accidents a year he thinks are caused by people losing their concentration because they’ve dropped a cigarette, along with figures for similar mishaps caused by drivers becoming distracted because their children are having a fight in the back, or a wasp has flown in to the car — happened to my late mother once, in her younger days, on the M1 and the damn thing stung her; ban driving with open windows immediately — or any number of such contingencies. Why on earth, though, start going on about banning it rather than, as would be perfectly reasonable, just reminding drivers it’s probably a better idea if they refrain from smoking while they’re driving? Indeed, such a statement might even include a reminder about the perfectly good law we’ve already got about driving without due care and attention.