Last week came the news that using a mobile phone while you’re driving will now cost you a heftier fine of 200 quid, and six points on your licence. That’s a real ‘two strikes and you’re out!’ approach, and one I heartily endorse.
In my van driving days I saw any number of drivers wandering about all over the road while talking or, even worse, texting. Kill yourself by all means, but don’t involve me or other road users. Especially the children you’ve got in the back of your Chelsea Tractor.
Even Nick Freeman, the renowned Mr Loophole, the solicitor who gets celebs off the hook when they’re busted doing 120 down the M1, thinks this is good. He goes further. He wants an automatic driving ban for anybody caught being a dimwit. I rather suspect that he might be planning a way of circumventing that possible law and making a good deal of money out of it, but whatever. I may just be cynical.
Anyway, we all know that being on the phone when you’re driving is plain stupid. However, car manufacturers don’t seem to have grasped this fundamental truth. Toyota, Honda, and Fiat already produce cars where you can interface your mobile with a touchscreen on the dashboard. Ford and Nissan are to jump on the bandwagon shortly.
What that means is you can receive updates from your Twitter, Facebook, and other accounts, and have them display on the screen. Marvellous idea, no?
The screen isn’t in line of sight, so you’re going to have to look away from the road. It won’t be like a glance at the speedo, will it? You’ll be scrolling down, taking in the import of what you see, firing off replies, and tailending some poor bugger minding their own business at some traffic lights.
Something else occurs to me. I’m notoriously fat fingered when it comes to touchscreens, and the idea that I could use one accurately in a moving car is completely ludicrous. That’s going to be yet another distraction. Jeepers, it’s scary enough being driven by somebody trying to programme the satnav, let alone send an email.
I look gleefully forward to howls of protest from some rep busted for revising his estimates for tapwasher sales in the West Midlands, while doing 90 in the outside lane with his headlights on main beam.