While the Government works hard to reduce the number of mobile phone users behind the wheel, there is an equally dangerous activity going on, albeit with a much prettier face.

applying makeup while driving

As the UK bemoans the use of drivers using their phones, did anyone think to question those who apply makeup behind the wheel?

A recent online video has surfaced of a driver in Chislehurst who has caught two instances of people applying makeup while driving, one of whom was so distracted that she failed to notice that her wing mirror was folded in, although it probably wasn’t her best side. The other perpetrator was so busy rummaging through her handbag that she didn’t notice the traffic in front had stopped.

The footage was captured on the rear camera of Steve Woodmore, a man with far too much time on his hands, and likely a fan of the more natural look.

Caught in the act

In 2016, there were 320.5 billion vehicle miles travelled, according to Department for Transport (DfT) data. This is the most ever recorded and goes some way to explaining why your morning commute is taking 20 minutes longer each day. It also explains why vehicle cameras are becoming increasingly popular.

In-car footage, made famous by Russians on YouTube, often show up other road users, especially their bad habits. A quick reapplication of lippy, checking to see if you have change for the car park, grabbing sunglasses from the glove compartment, all things that drivers do each day without a second thought. So why is it just mobile phones that are being outlawed?

The quick answer is that it’s easier to become distracted for longer, more sustained periods with a mobile phone, whereas rummaging for that 20p you thought you had, may only be a quick distraction. It’s also harder to police a moments’ diversion, while a mobile phone may seem like your best friend, its ability to store the time and date of your every interaction would see you sold out faster than a Steps Reunion tour.

Selective outrage

It’s easy for commentators to be outraged at those applying makeup at a set of traffic lights, but when you’re living in a glass house is it wise to throw stones? There are many of us who have been guilty of becoming distracted behind the wheel, there’s no defending it but here we are.

Mr Woodmore opted to try to humiliate the women to get them to think twice about their behaviour in future. But by his own admission, Woodmore spent much of his journey concentrating on their actions that he could quite have easily fallen victim to his own ineptitude.

Lack of police presence

Another reason why people may have become laxer in their safety while driving is the perceived lack of police presence on the roads, and the stats don’t lie. Data published by the RAC show that the number of full time officers on the road in England and Wales has fallen 27 per cent since 2010. The figures also show a year-on-year decrease, with 30 out of 42 forces recording a fall in road policing officers during 2014-15.

A recent show of force around the implementation of harsher mobile phone use penalties may have been short lived as it appears drivers are flouting the law despite increased punishment. As reported in our recent article, West Midlands police caught 261 motorists using their mobile between the 1st and 8th of March.

This was part of a crackdown operation by West Midlands police, although it’s likely that the numbers of offenders will decrease with West Midlands being unable to deploy that many officers in an ongoing, concentrated way.

Regardless of harsher punishments, public humiliation or folded wing mirrors the likelihood is that people will continue to chance their arm if they think they can get away with it. Sadly it will most likely take an accident to drive home the severity of their actions and then it could be too late.

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