One of our readers has sent in photos detailing appallingly dangerous driving by a member of the Victorian police force.
Shown below is an unmarked police vehicle – nothing uncommon there I hear you say. If you look closely, the female driver of the vehicle is talking on her mobile telephone (held to her head by her right hand).
Click to see larger image
Seconds after our reader’s passenger took the photographs, the driver then reaches over the wheel with her left hand (while still holding the telephone to her head with her right hand) and puts her indicator on. Effectively, the driver is using her left hand to hold the wheel on the opposite side and then uses the same hand to put her indicator on.
If that wasn’t dangerous enough, the driver then merges in front of our reader’s vehicle – eliminating the two second gap they were keeping with the truck in front of them – and comes within 1-metre of his bull-bar. Maybe she didn’t see the car? Unlikely, considering our reader was driving a 70-series Toyota Landcruiser with a large bull-bar attached.
Click for larger image
Seemingly oblivious to this potential near miss, the driver of the unmarked police vehicle continues on her merry way.
When contacted for comment with regards to the photographs, CarAdvice also posed the question of reprimand toward the driver.
Although we can’t publish the exact response from Natalie Webster – the Media Officer for the Media and Corporate Communications Unit of the Victoria Police – she told us that police are covered under Road Rule 300 (1), exempting them from breaking any law if they were to use a mobile phone while driving.
According to Monash University research (Monash University Accident Research Centre – Report #206 – 2003, authors: K. Young, M. Regan & M. Hammer), the use of a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle can increase the risk of an accident by up to four times! And that figure disregards whether the driver is a police officer or member of the public – as we are all humans at the end of the day.
The fact that the police have brushed this off on a technicality is truly appalling. The driver of this unmarked police vehicle put the lives of several people at risk and the police are unwilling to even follow the matter up. Being a police officer doesn’t somehow exempt you from a human’s common cognitive train of thought – which puts all of us, despite your job position, in the same boat when it comes to using a mobile phone whilst driving.
This act of dangerous driving poses the question – should members of the police force really be allowed to use a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle?