Dangers of text appeal
I didn’t count the number of texting drivers we saw on a recent drive back from Melbourne and it would be an unreliable indication anyway.
That’s because the only drivers we saw texting were those we were passing, and I’d imagine that if they’re mad enough to text at 100kmh most wouldn’t bother slowing from 110kmh.
We weren’t far out of Melbourne on our two-day drive to Newcastle when we began to recognise the swerve. The car in front would wander from one side of the lane to the other, back again and at some point there’d be a correcting swerve.
And as we passed in the overtaking lane there, sure enough, was a texting driver. Head down, and only one or two bothered to look up at me as we passed until I gave ’em a pip of the horn in irritation (and as a warning, since that is the legal use of a horn). Cyclists, me among them, are particularly vulnerable to the wandering texter and there have been some tragic instances to illustrate that.
Because we were in my wife’s Landcruiser we had a better view of proceedings than anyone in a sedan. Some had the phone on their lap with the left hand on the wheel and some had the phone in a hand held against the steering wheel while the free hand jabbed. And I suppose knees helped with the steering.
At night, as I have seen in and around Newcastle, the face is lit by a blue light.
On this trip back from Melbourne they weren’t all young! In fact, most were not young. The most common offenders were men between young and elderly, men driving utes or what may have been company cars.
They didn’t look like people who would happily put others at risk, they weren’t hoons, and the only person I know who has been booked for texting while driving, a woman in her 40s, is one of the last people who would want to put anyone at risk.
She was pulled over for texting, given a lecture and a caution and drove off gratefully brimful of repentance only to be pulled over minutes later by the very same copper for texting! She’d probably been sending an SMS about how lucky she was to be let off with a warning.
Texting drivers are everywhere. Last week I read in the Herald that a one-day risky driving blitz by NSW Police booked more drivers for texting in the northern NSW police region, which includes the Hunter, than in any other region.
Across the state on that day police issued more than twice as many fines for texting than for not wearing a seatbelt.
Ahh, you’ll be thinking,Corbettprotests too much!
Yes, in texting’s early days I’ve tapped out ok or back soon, mostly while waiting at the lights, but I have not for a long time.
The first reason is that it’s not worth the fumbling, that it’s much easier to pull over, and I read that there are dedicated texting bays in WA. The second reason is that texting is as blatant as a sore thumb and I don’t want to pay the $325 fine.
The other reason is that Landcruisers don’t swerve so well.
THISis shaping up as the year of the inappropriate relationship. You’ve seen it, CEOs and lesser managers grovelling with remorse as they depart the company or announce their own pay cut as punishment for an inappropriate relationship. Most include an apology to their wife.
We’re not talking of the Clinton-Monica relationship here. An imbalance even a fraction of that between a US president and a trainee in his office never seems to be the issue, nor is coercion or inducement or other pork barrelling.
The inappropriateness is not explained, not that I’ve seen, and we are left to assume that the relationship is inappropriate because one or the other was married. Or, as it may turn out later, simply in another relationship.
Inappropriate is a word that has been hurled as a condemnation by the very same people who use judgemental as a condemnation. Both are favoured words for female schoolteachers and others of that shrill ilk, and they’ll never see a conflict between the two so long as it’s them ajudging what’s inappropriate.
It seems that having a relationship while married or in another relationship is the sticking point, rather than a manager having a relationship with someone in the work environment – not all the cases this year have involved two employees. But what does anyone’s relationships have to do with these righteous denouncers? And I wonder if a relationship between a woman CEO or manager and a male employee or between people of the same sex would attract the same denunciation and require the same grovelling public spectacle.
Just as our society moves its condemning eye out of people’s relationships, these morally flawless warbirds are moving theirs back in.