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But the laptop was still working

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

5 replies on “But the laptop was still working”

I remember when Phil Fitness was Sales Manager of TFB in the late 70s or early 80s he was the proud owner of a Renault 4. Frustrated that it did not have cruise control he designed his own version with the use of a house brick which he would put on the accelerator on his frequent trips from Bristol to London.
This scheme worked well until he had to brake hard one trip and couldn't get the brick off the accelerator!

I used to have a Fiat 500 and that had a manual throttle (aka an Italian cruise control system) in addition to the usual accelerator. Because the car was so small, it was actually possible to set the throttle, open the sun roof (one of those foldy canvas things) sit on the roof and steer the car with your feet. Allegedly. I always found it an interesting way to drive home (around the Marine Drive in Scarboro) after a long night's clubbing. Allegedly.

Ha Ha. I've just read the winning entry.
I always thought snorting tequila was a pretty stupid thing to do but in comparison…..

Cruise Control innovator Phil Fitness (16 Jan 2008) was guilty of another error of judgement. He sounded his car horn when travelling behind a slow moving tractor with a slurry tank. The car wash must have been clogged up.

We could probably tell anecdotes about Phil's driving for years but I remember an occasion when I was in the car with him when a well built, heavily tattooed pedestrian had the audacity to step onto a zebra crossing in front of him.
Phil was incensed that anybody could do this to him so he wound down the window and called him the one word that is usually still banned by the BBC, before putting his foot to the floor to avoid the repercussions.
Regrettably, about 10 yards ahead was a traffic jam which Phil had not spotted but the tattooed gentlemen had. Luckily for Phil he had central locking and could lock the car from the inside. Had he not had this handy facility I would have been a witness to a bad case of pedestrian rage.

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