Every year the Darwin Awards commemorate those people who improve the human gene pool by taking themselves out of it – usually in the most stupid way possible. As this blog is read by some people of a nervous disposition, we cannot go into the details of the winner or how he left this life – save to say it involved bottles of sherry going down an unusual orifice – however the fate of one of the runners-up was more familiar.

Identified only as Oscar, he was a 29-year-old IT trainer who met his end on Highway 99 in California in February last year when his Honda Accord crossed into oncoming traffic and
collided with a Hummer. The occupants of the Hummer were not seriously
injured. California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers found Oscar's laptop still
running and plugged into the car's cigarette lighter. Investigators
believe that he was using it when his car crossed the center line.
“Driving is not a time to be practicing your multitasking skills,” remarked
CHP spokesman Tom Marshall.

We mention this story because last year the IT director of a top 50 UK law firm admitted that one of his partners came in one day to say that with the help of some Velcro, he had managed to attach his Blackberry to the centre of his car's steering wheel, so he could check his emails as he commuted in and out of the office.

And there was the sales exec (female) of an old legal IT supplier (let's call them Avenue Legal Systems) who told us that she'd once been pulled over by traffic police and given a warning because they'd spotted her applying lipstick while she was driving. “Fortunately,” she said, “they didn't spot the fact I also had a television set mounted in the footwell on the passenger's side and had been watching Home & Away while I was driving.”

For more information about the Darwin Awards visit www.darwinawards.com