Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I didn't know that. Did you?

A woman writing in this week's Sunday Independent brought something to my attention that I had never realized before. It's illegal to use your mobile phone in your car even if you're not driving at the time.

She was caught up in last week's great M50/M11 traffic nightmare and figured she'd better send a text to let her child-minder know what was happening when a member of the Gardai stopped for 'a chat'.
I took out my mobile phone to text her, and as I did, the first garda I saw coming anywhere near the scene in almost an hour and a half, drove by on a motor cycle. He didn't appear to be in any hurry. He didn't have a blue light flashing. But he was certainly being observant, because he was able to look inside my little car and detect the terrible crime I was engaged in.

Having gone past me the length of a car or two, he stopped, wheeled around and headed straight for me. I rolled down the window and he told me I was not supposed to be using a phone in the car.

I pointed out that I was not actually driving, and had not been driving for some time. In fact, the engine was turned off.

Nevertheless, he said, I should not be doing it.
Is this right? Is it illegal to use the mobile phone in your car even if the car is off? If it is then I'm frequently guilty of this violation as are all those people who I see pulled off to the side to call or text someone.