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mike Meehan

Binge Drinking

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'It’s illegal to ride a motorcycle or drive 'a motor vehicle' using hand-held phones or similar devices.

The rules are the same if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic'.

 

It doesn't say anything about being in a lay by with the handbrake on, gears in neutral but the engine running - It depends on what is being held as 'driving' - it reminds me of a chap I knew being found in his car parked with the engine running on a street one cold snowy night after a night out.His defence was that the conditions were such that he could not get home and that he had switched on the engine to provide warmth whilst sleeping. He was found not guilty to being drunk in charge, however this was at a Magistrates Court and they are not always the best indicator of law but what I will say is that if I were still a policeman I would never dream of giving a ticket to a driver using his phone parked in a layby whilst his engine was still running.

Common sense approach, bit like the story that went round the web (no idea if true or not) of a Police Officer stopping a van used by a self employed painter and decorator, the driver was smoking, when challenged the driver said " How much Painting and Decorating do you think I do in here?"

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'It’s illegal to ride a motorcycle or drive 'a motor vehicle' using hand-held phones or similar devices.

The rules are the same if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic'.

 

It doesn't say anything about being in a lay by with the handbrake on, gears in neutral but the engine running - It depends on what is being held as 'driving' - it reminds me of a chap I knew being found in his car parked with the engine running on a street one cold snowy night after a night out.His defence was that the conditions were such that he could not get home and that he had switched on the engine to provide warmth whilst sleeping. He was found not guilty to being drunk in charge, however this was at a Magistrates Court and they are not always the best indicator of law but what I will say is that if I were still a policeman I would never dream of giving a ticket to a driver using his phone parked in a layby whilst his engine was still running.

Hmmm. Seems daft but there is a possible explanation. A work colleague and friend of mine was killed on the M1 several years ago after breaking down, he was hit by another driver's car which followed his onto the hard shoulder instead of the motorway lane, just as he was getting out of the car. If you are on your phone in an open layby, rather than one with a perimeter kerb/barrier you are very vulnerable and perhaps it could be argued that using a phone distracts your attention from the hazard perception and the ability to take evasive action if someone mistakes the layby for the lane.

 

On using devices in cars in general, there is some great research from the Transport Research Laboratory which should make us all sit up and take notice. Drinking at the legal UK limit slows a typical person's reaction time by 13%, texting slows it by 37%, and talking on the phone by 46%. Using the touch screen of your GPS comes about half way between or more depending how absorbed you are.

 

Also research with US airforce pilots shows that surrounding them with more input and output devices designed to increase safety and awareness actually does the opposite - ditto for all the gizmos some people now have in their cars. A perception of safety is not safety...

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I think if you get in such a state where taxpayers have to pay for your treatment (stomach pumped, on a drip etc) then you should be held to be - at least partly - accountable.

However, ultimately, it should be upto the individual concerned to decide how much they want to drink.

Bars/Clubs should stop serving people who are very drunk but they don't...

You see it every night. One particular club is tougher to get into but every other club (or bar where I've been ID'd) has been a 2 second check and then you walk in.

There has been a fair few occasions where I would have barely been able to coherently respond to them but they never checked, anyone can act sober for 20-30 seconds.

I find there to be a laughable disparity between the media spin and reality. By that i'm referring to the above post about 4 pints being 'binge' drinking. In comparison to almost every person in the club having drank at least 15, probably 20 units that night (4 pints would be about 10 units).

Then we come to very obvious drug use. I've seen on 3 occasions cocaine bong snorted in different pubs and many of my friends visibly high (particularly ecstatcy/MDMA and cocaine - huge pupils, gurning (grinding their jaw) etc etc), yet they never get chucked out.

I'd be interested to know I the situation has worsened in the last few decades...

Ibiza etc has been going on for decades so that isn't really different but general drinking and drugs is very prevalent currently among people my age (18-25).

Objectivity in effectively assessing the change/lack off change in recent decades is hard to get, so I'm unsure whether this always was part of our culture or whether the situation has changed...

I'd be interested to hear the views of others in relation to this issue :)

Edited by SW Saltire

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On the mobile phones issue, I found the following link from the AA, a while ago, and other sources suggest the same thing:

http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/legal-advice/mobile-phones.html

 

It is illegal to use a mobile phone held in the hand while driving or while stopped with the engine on.

It has been illegal to use a hand held mobile phone while driving since December 2003.

I remember this one coming up in relation to suggestions that the penalties for using a mobile phone while driving should be increased significantly, which would be reasonable re. chatting while on the move, but could cause people to get a driving ban for texting while parked in a layby.  Indeed, common sense should be applied, but when there is a strong desire to be seen to be "doing something" about a problem, it is tempting for authorities to apply "zero tolerance" to easy targets and justify this approach by insisting that "rules are rules", which is why I am usually uneasy about such "one size fits all" legislation.

 

As for the binge-drinking problem, I don't think the incidence of rowdy drunken behaviour has changed significantly over the last 10-15 years.  Late evening trains on a Friday or Saturday are often very intimidating, but no more so than they were when I was in my late teens.

 

What has changed is that it can be much harder for innocent people to get into pubs and clubs, let alone attempt to buy alcohol.  I have posted before about my issue of being refused entry to city-centre pubs in my late twenties due to not having my passport with me.  The standard justification is that normal people go into pubs to buy alcohol and can get a provisional driving licence for ID, and if you fall outside of those categories, tough, together with the usual line, "That's life, because the minority have to spoil it for everybody else."   One could argue that in some cases this "legislating for idiots" issue might be a way of trying, unsuccessfully, to make up for a lack of police resources- how do you direct enforcement against the minority of offenders if there isn't anyone around to actually enforce anything?

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On the mobile phones issue, I found the following link from the AA, a while ago, and other sources suggest the same thing:

http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/legal-advice/mobile-phones.html

I remember this one coming up in relation to suggestions that the penalties for using a mobile phone while driving should be increased significantly, which would be reasonable re. chatting while on the move, but could cause people to get a driving ban for texting while parked in a layby.  Indeed, common sense should be applied, but when there is a strong desire to be seen to be "doing something" about a problem, it is tempting for authorities to apply "zero tolerance" to easy targets and justify this approach by insisting that "rules are rules", which is why I am usually uneasy about such "one size fits all" legislation.

 

As for the binge-drinking problem, I don't think the incidence of rowdy drunken behaviour has changed significantly over the last 10-15 years.  Late evening trains on a Friday or Saturday are often very intimidating, but no more so than they were when I was in my late teens.

 

What has changed is that it can be much harder for innocent people to get into pubs and clubs, let alone attempt to buy alcohol.  I have posted before about my issue of being refused entry to city-centre pubs in my late twenties due to not having my passport with me.  The standard justification is that normal people go into pubs to buy alcohol and can get a provisional driving licence for ID, and if you fall outside of those categories, tough, together with the usual line, "That's life, because the minority have to spoil it for everybody else."   One could argue that in some cases this "legislating for idiots" issue might be a way of trying, unsuccessfully, to make up for a lack of police resources- how do you direct enforcement against the minority of offenders if there isn't anyone around to actually enforce anything?

 

I think another reason for the "ID on the door" policy at pubs is simply to save time at the bar. If the staff know that everyone in the pub is over 18 they don't have to bother checking everyone during busy periods. It's a minor inconvenience really, although annoying if you forget your ID. Thankfully I have a driving licence which permanently lives in my wallet.

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