Perplexity is a way of life with me, as you know. This is partly because I’m insatiably curious, and partly because I’m thick as a brick. We all have our burdens to bear, eh?
Another of my burdens is chronic insomnia. It’s a characteristic of depression, and I’ve been a martyr on and off for nearly 50 years. However, things have improved a bit since the 70s, in that now at least when I’m a member of the Wideawake Club, television is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
I like BBC4, but when that ceases at 4:00AM, things get a bit sketchier. However, I have recently developed a liking for those police reality shows. I like them because what you get is to see perps doing stuff that make me feel pretty good about myself, the ‘Fuck. Even I’ve never been that dumb!’ For example, I have never been nicked pissing on a building up a side street* to be informed by the attending cops I’ve been pissing on a police station.
I’ll get to the point now. In the UK, 13,000 drivers a year are nicked for using a mobile while driving. I’m all in favour of this. I don’t drive any longer, but when I did I had a number of near death experiences with reps paying more attention to selling shower trays than to staying in a straight line at a reasonable speed. Mucking about on your mobile is frowned upon.
Then we get to the oddity, oddities. Watch any footage featuring a police vehicle pursuit. Every driver, every single one, is on his or her shoulder radio. All the time. You’d think, wouldn’t you, the same ‘speaking while driving is distracting and dangerous’ rules would apply to the Bill wouldn’t you? It’s either unsafe, or it isn’t unsafe, surely?
Then, while adjusting the radio, the cops have to take both hands off the wheel to change gear. I’d have lost my licence for that, in fact never have passed my test. Then they do the ‘one-handed-palming-the wheel’ thing. That another complete no-no for us civvies.
Best thing I saw this week was a pursuit driver not paying enough care and attention on a wet roundabout, and ploughing into the back of a stationary vehicle. The airwaves went blue, with both the driver and his partner being quite florid in describing their feelings to control.
Nobody hurt, which was a big result. But pay attention guys. Lead by example.
*Come on guys, we’ve all done it.