Speaking to the assembled press Dorset Chief Constable Sir Rising Crimewave announced this year's Annual Christmas Awareness Campaign; it's focus: reducing the number of accidents caused by talking and driving simultaneously.
"Over the years there has been, in our view, a distortion of the public's perception of the hazards associated with talking whilst driving largely as a result of over-concentration on the 'so-called' problem of driving whilst drinking. We all know that drinking whilst driving can - in certain circumstances - be dangerous; particularly when hot substances combined with unsecured plastic lids leads to spillage, distraction and even painful scalding together with an associated temporary absence of concentration. I myself have experienced this". "Some have even questioned the wisdom of drinking before driving", Sir Rising continued, "and again, in excess and without proper preparation, this can be regarded as unwise. However, matters can always be taken to extremes and in our view penalising those honest citizens who like a couple of snifters at the golf club on their way home is not the way forward. And take, for example, the perfectly regular chappie who just wants to enjoy the office party without the inconvenience of a taxi or public transportation at the end of it. He should be understood and educated, encouraged to limit consumption to no more than half a bottle of spirits or a couple of bottles of wine (c12 pints of beer) and then urged to remember to keep his foot on or close to the brakes when going down hill or around corners." "Often it's a matter of applying, not the law, but common sense", he concluded.
Just some of the hard-hitting images the Royal Dorset Constabulary are deploying in its "shock and awe" campaign to reduce the number of accidents caused by Talk-Driving this Christmas.
Turning to the new Campaign, Sir Ronald was more robust: "Have you any idea how many road accidents are caused by people talking and driving?" "It's truly arresting [8 people were taken into custody in the last five years alone]." "Statistics suggest that in 4 out of every 10 accidents, someone in the car was talking, often loudly, frequently at high intensity and in 1 in 10 cases whilst gesticulating to force home some arbitrary point." "Silence is never more golden than whilst in an interior vehicular environment", Sir Ronald insisted.
"It's a well established fact that males are not very good at multi-tasking, so speaking and driving is a no-no", road traffic officer Sgt Rhodes Traffique added, "but even females are not immune and boy [girl? ed] can they shriek when the mood is on them. People jump out of moving vehicles just to get away from the noise".
So the Royal Dorset Constabulary has issued the following guidelines for the Christmas period:
don't speak and drive
if you need to communicate whilst driving, take your hands off the wheel and sign your message to fellow passengers instead
if your fellow passengers are in the rear of the vehicle, turn your body through 180 degrees but only when you have checked the road ahead. Be clear in delivering your message or risk confusing your passengers with regard to your true intentions
try saying everything you might want to say during the journey before you enter the vehicle. Anticipate your interlocutors' likely responses and build them in to your pre-drive speech
fit (comfortable) gags to your passengers - passive talking can cost lives
place a small speech-box in a prominent position in your vehicle and ask (though not whilst driving) for contributions/fines from those who speak whilst the vehicle is in motion
do not allow more than one woman in your vehicle at any given time (none if the driver is female). Remember the formula: likelihood of accidents = no of women passengers squared.
eat whilst driving. Nature, allied with proper social etiquette, has imprinted humankind with an evolutionary inability easily to talk and eat at the same time
if you must talk and drive at the same time do so quietly and with your eyes closed - this increases concentration albeit with a minor increase in the probability of hitting a stationary lamp-post.
remember talk and walk; don't jive and drive.
The RDC Campaign will be backed up by roadside and television advertising in a publicity deluge said to have cost dozens of pounds.