Criminal Justice News

Friday, March 13, 2015

Think twice before eating, drinking while driving

by Gina Randall
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

3/12/2015 - RAF MILDENHALL, England  -- Driving is something most people do as part of everyday life. With less than favorable conditions such as weather, wildlife, and winding narrow roads it's no wonder accidents can happen, however good the driver may be.

It's important to know the rules when stationed in a new country and using the roads there. In the United Kingdom the rules can be found on the government website.

Rule 148 states: "Safe driving and riding needs concentration. Avoid distractions when driving or riding such as ... eating and drinking."

People may not think grabbing a drink of water while on a journey to work would cause a hazard, but this action causes the driver to take their eyes off the road. It could be during this split second that a child runs out into their path. The driver's attention to the road could have saved the life of that victim.

Drivers should give the road their full attention at all times.

Other rules remind people not to drive carelessly.

"Rule 144: You must not drive dangerously or drive without due care and attention."

The 100th Air Refueling Wing Safety office agrees.

"Driving without due care and attention is dangerous because it takes your eyes off the road and your attention away from safely operating the vehicle," said Staff Sgt. Jose Martinez, 100th ARW occupational safety specialist from San Francisco.

The safety office has advice for military members and their families using the roads in a new country.

"While eating or drinking beverages such as soda or coffee is not illegal, the U.K. Highway Code states 'driving without due care and attention' is a fineable act," said Martinez.

The U.K. government requests road users to use common sense and take care of one another. It's not just the distraction of eating behind the wheel that could cause dangers to other road users, it could also be the discarded food that people may not want left in their vehicle until the end of their journey or until they reach a service station with trash cans.

"Rule 147: Be considerate. Be careful of, and considerate toward, all types of road users, especially those requiring extra care ... you must not throw anything out of a vehicle; for example, food or food packaging, cigarette ends, cans, paper or carrier bags. This can endanger other road users, particularly motorcyclists and cyclists."

The base Safety Office seconds the government's advice to be respectful to others, and to follow the laws and rules in their local community.

"The law on base is the same as it would be off base," said Martinez.

The safety representative added that for more information, the U.K. Highway Code or Mildenhall Instruction 31-218 is a great resource. On base, anyone who is found behaving in an unsafe or erratic manner will receive three points on their driving record. For off base penalties, contact the Legal Office or the local police station.

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