24 March 2009

Vocabulary in the News: Laughing Driver Stopped By Cops

This article comes from Sky News. To see the article at Sky News, go HERE.

11:27am UK, Thursday March 05, 2009

15235092 It's no joke: a motorist has been stopped by police for laughing at the wheel.

Company director Gary Sanders was speaking on a hands-free phone as he was travelling to work when police in the Mersey Tunnel ordered him to pull over.

Mr Sanders, 47, said he was stunned to be told by a traffic officer that laughing while driving a car can be an offence.

The managing director of Spontex Workwear said: "I couldn't believe it when he told me I'd been pulled over for for laughing.

"I was driving very safely in the tunnel and took a call from a friend on my hands-free phone.

"He said something funny and I was laughing - simple as that. I never took my eyes off the road and was in full control of the car.

"I was astonished that he could say that laughing might be an offence. What is the country coming to?"

Supt Kevin Hagger of the Mersey Tunnels Police said: "I wouldn't want to make a comment as I don't know the full details.

"There is no record of the incident in the system so it seems the gentleman was just spoken to by the officer and the matter not taken any further."

A spokesman for the Association of British Drivers, Brian Gregory said: "This is a shocking example of the police harassing innocent motorists simply because they are an easy target.

"To suggest that a driver could be prosecuted for laughing is ludicrous beyond belief."

at the wheel (also behind the wheel)


be the one driving a vehicle

EX. He was asleep at the wheel / behind the wheel when his car ran off the road and hit a tree.

hands-free (adj.)


no need to use the hands

EX. I bought a hands-free car kit for my cell phone so I could drive with both hands and still talk on the phone.

to pull over


to bring a vehicle to a stop at the curb or side of the road

EX. My car started making some strange noises so I pulled over to the side of the road so I could see what the problem was.

stunned (adj.)


shocked, surprised

EX. I was absolutely stunned when I saw how expensive my gas bill was!

an offence


breaking of a law; a crime

EX. It is an offence in France to smoke in a public area such as a café.

to take a call


to answer the phone

EX. The doctor hired a new secretary to take his calls.

to take one’s eyes off the road

to keep one’s eyes on the road


to look somewhere other than in front while driving

EX. I had only taken my eye’s off the road for a second when the dog ran out in front of me.

in full control


to have complete power over something or someone

EX. Being in full control means that you can stop the software before anything goes wrong.

astonished (adj.)


filled with sudden wonder or amazement

EX. She was astonished when he asked for her hand in marriage. She wasn’t expecting it!

What is the country / the world coming to? (idiomatic expression)


What is happening to our country? Where are we going? What are we becoming?

EX. More and more teenagers are using drugs and teenage pregnancies are on the rise! What is the country coming to?

the matter


an event, situation or subject

EX. This break-in is a matter for the police. You shouldn’t try to investigate it yourself.

to harass


to irritate persistently

EX. The landlord harassed tenants who were behind on their rent.

a motorist


one who drives or travels in an automotive vehicle

EX.In Chicago, if a motorists is caught driving while using a cell phone, he or she could lose their driver’s license.

to be prosecuted


to have legal action taken against

EX. O.J. Simpson was prosecuted by the state of California for numerous crimes in 2007. 

ludicrous (adj.)


laughable, absurd, ridiculous

EX. The ludicrous stories this woman is telling are so over the top and obviously false, it’s hard to believe anyone gives them credence.

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