The officers cautioned another Dorset driver against tailgating.
Though he had been spotted exiting his driveway with no seat belt, the man in the Isuzu Trooper stated that he had unbuckled the belt just that instant, in preparation for entering a gas station. Though his cellphone registered an outgoing call, the man in the Mitsubishi L200 Animal claimed that he had merely answered the phone, almost as an afterthought, as he rounded a traffic circle. And the woman in the silver Vauxhall boldly asserted that she had left her BlackBerry at home and that anyone who observed her typing while driving was sorely mistaken.
Oops. “I’m sure your mum told you never to lie to a policeman,” said Sgt. Lee Savage, a traffic officer with the Dorset Police Department, casting doubt on her credibility by locating the BlackBerry — open to Facebook — on the passenger seat and fining her £60, about $90.
Special pleadings are not acceptable in the “No Excuse” initiative being run here in Dorset, a largely rural county on Britain’s south coast. The yearlong, $1.25 million project — a combination of advertising, education and increased police patrols — is an effort to reduce the number of accidents caused by driver inattention, a common problem across the car-driving world.
The New York Times - In Dorset County, inattentive drivers are being watched.
I'd like to see that one: pouring coffee whilst steering with one's elbows.
The drivers caught that day tended to employ the “I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy” defense, admitting only to part of the misdeed. Stopped for making a call while driving to his job as a window repairman, a man in a dusty Vauxhall tried to claim in mitigation that he had just bought his phone and had not yet had time to activate his plan to install a hands-free system. His assertion was undercut by the obvious elderliness and grubbiness of the phone.
It gets better.
Mr. Smith, the road safety manager, said that the campaign’s name was a homage to motorists’ endless litany of fruitless rationalizations. “I was out about a year ago and we stopped a lady who had three children in the back of the car,” he related. “The officer said, ‘Why aren’t these children belted in?’ and she said, ‘They’re not my children.’ ”