Michael Booth: How can we cope with a ban on mobile phones?

The other day I was sitting in my car at traffic lights, minding my own business. Actually, that is not strictly true, I was gazing longingly out of the corner of my eye at Norbury's answer to Vanessa Paradis in the car next to me, while I was eating a packet of Flaming Hot Monster Munch from my lap with one hand, and rooting around in my left nostril for what felt like it might turn out to be a lost relic of Angkor Wat with the other.

Then my phone rang.

Without a moment's hesitation (because all my calls are of the highest importance) I answered it with my Monster Munch hand, extracting the other from my nostril to take over steering, indicating and gear-changing duties. At that moment, the lights changed but I still managed to answer the call, consume another MSG-packed mouthful and recommence driving with my elbows. Sorted.

But from 1 December, if I do this while being observed by a policeman with nothing better to do, I could be fined up to £1,000 and receive three points. Outrageous, no?

Well no. You see, the other day (a different one), I narrowly avoided being T-boned by a fool in a Scorpio who was so engrossed in his trivial, meaningless, mobile conversation that he exited a junction without looking. If you had asked me at that moment for an appropriate penalty, it would have involved slow blood letting disembowelment.

And herein lies the crux of the driving-while-phoning issue: If I am doing it, fine, but Lord have mercy if I spot someone else doing it, for, as God is my witness, I will hunt them down, drive them off the road and rearrange their nethers with a scissor-jack.

To unravel this paradox and brush up on the new law I visited the Department for Transport website. After a few Website Not Respondings I finally accessed a message saying, "The Prime Minister has decided to create a new Department for Transport to focus solely on transport issues". I was redirected to www.dft.gov.uk. From there I followed a link to 'Driving with Mobile Phones: FAQs', which responded with another 'Website Not Responding'. So I followed another link to www.motoring.gov.uk.

In the week that new mobile phone laws were being discussed, its headline was (and I am not making this up): "Do West Lothians Know their Indicators from their Dipsticks?"

So I rang the Department for Transport press office. They sent me a press release. It seems that, contrary to the media hysteria, the penalty for holding and talking on a phone while driving (or even using "hands-free" if the police judge it to be impairing your driving) is £30. You cannot receive penalty points or a higher fine until the Government finds more time to pass the appropriate laws. But, of course, £30 buys you an awful lot of Monster Munch. So how could I still receive those life-and- death calls, without incurring a fine?

A solution presented itself the next day when a new Lexus LS430 arrived on loan. The Lexus has Blue Teeth, or something, and because my phone does too, it turned the car into a giant phone booth. Better still, the Lexus was automatic, thus leaving my hands free to attend to all my body's other needs while on the move. Now if the police see me talking in the car, I shall claim I was singing to myself. And even with Nanny Alistair Darling in charge, it should still be a while before this Government gets round to outlawing that.

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

    £37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

    Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

    £25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

    £16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea