Police crack down on drivers caught snacking at the wheel

A REMORSEFUL motorist yesterday admitted ‘not being in full control’ after being caught by police eating a sandwich while driving.

PCs Liam Blondel and Sophie Robilliard in Bulwer Avenue keeping an eye out for motorists eating or drinking – or using a mobile phone – while driving. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 5735533)
PCs Liam Blondel and Sophie Robilliard in Bulwer Avenue keeping an eye out for motorists eating or drinking – or using a mobile phone – while driving. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 5735533)

The driver was one of eight people stopped during a police operation for either snacking or drinking without both hands on the wheel and their full attention on the road.

It was part of a crackdown that primarily focused on people using their mobile phones while driving, including sending and checking messages or browsing social media. While no-one was caught on their phone on this occasion, motorists who tucked into sandwiches or coffee were warned that it was an offence – one that could even result in a court appearance, fine and driving ban.

A 51-year-old, who did not want to give his name, said he did not realise it was an offence but admitted that he could see the dangers.

‘You are not in control if one hand is free,’ he said as he vowed he had learned his lesson.

The other drivers caught eating and drinking were given advice and a caution by officers as part of the crackdown between the Red Lion and Halfway junction.


Comments for: "Police crack down on drivers caught snacking at the wheel"

vic gamble

....they would have a hay-day in the South of France...everyone (except me) drives with their hand hanging out the window to cool down their blood.....even our village policeman drives in that fashion and then uses his other hand to wave at friends.......

Bill Maguire

Reminds me of Aussie truckers who are susceptible to skin cancer on their right arm.


I suppose the police women would be drying their nail varnish in the same way!


How is this any different to smoking while driving?


None really except you would surely have an accident when you are coughing your lungs out whilst behind the wheel!


For goodness sake "it's common sense."

Dee Sharisse

Agreed, it's not very bright to eat a sandwich or drink coffee at the wheel. How far is this going to go, though? When I used to have a lengthy commute in the UK, I often had a bag of jelly babies next to me. I found that it helped to keep me awake, much the same as having a cigarette. If the basis of this is to ensure that both hands are kept on the wheel at all times, then manual transmission vehicles ('stick-shifts') should be outlawed.


‘You are not in control if one hand is free,’

So is it therefore illegal to own a manually gearboxed car? Surely you are breaking the law every time you change gear?!

There is no comparison between using a phone at the wheel and drinking a drink as you can still drink and concentrate on the road. Whereas using a phone has been proven in tests to distract drivers.

Surely our Police force have better things to be doing with their time?


Good call Guernseyman. This is total BS. I'm going to keep drinking my coffee on the way to work every day. The presence of a cupholder means I'm allowed to.

Devil's Advocate

What will they do about people with one arm who have licenses?


Why were they only cautioned? If they had been caught using their phone they would of been prosecuted so why is eating a sandwich any different? Who cares if they didn't know it was against the law, common sense should tell you that before the law needs to!

Are the police able to issue on the spot fines for these offences? Surely that would be a better solution to either letting them off or taking them to court.


Why would any sensible person need to eat or drink whilst driving?


Er…. because they are hungry or probably in the case of sweets or a smoke, boredom.


I’m half in support of these measures, it makes sense to stop people trying to navigate the twisty lanes whilst slurping a Costa but if someone’s sat in the usual morning traffic jam and takes a mouthful of water from a bottle then I don’t see what the issue is. I hope some common sense was used but would fear not.

As to not in control if you have one hand free (I assume meaning free of the steering wheel) then what a load of cobblers. I have a friend who was born missing the lower half of her left arm, she has a driving licence (auto only) so is obviously deemed safe to be in control of a car.


To many police officers with nothing to do!


What about the lorry drivers who we see daily on their cb radio I see it all the time on my way to work up Rectory Hill, the drivers of the skip lorries at Pointes Lane as they pass me. Just a thought

Guernsey Fudge

Note to myself - to avoid prosecution must not;

1. Wave to friends whilst driving.

2. Insert a CD or change radio volume/station.

3. Wipe car windows with cloth when steamed up.

4. Put hand out of window to perform hand signals that I was taught to when learning to drive.

5. Scratch my nose or use a handkerchief.

6. Move sun blind up or down.

7. Adjust rear view mirror when being dazzled from behind..

8. Pull in wing mirror to avoid being hit by a4 x 4 on marrow lanes.

9. Open ashtray to dispose of ash from cigarette I am smoking.

10. Close the passenger window for excited dog that is on my front seat not wearing a seat belt.


This is pretty ridiculous unless they were driving in a dangerous manner, I've not read the article in full. If this is to become commonplace then some guidelines are needed.

I'm sure I have seen police officers using a radio when driving, and lots of people smoke and drive or drink coffee etc when driving. It's also fairly normal to drive with one arm on the door with the window open.

I can understand and completely agree with targeting people who text or phone when they drove but this seems OTT. It would be a far better use of police time to start targeting people that park in stupid places at rush hour or people that have to brake every time a car comes the other way.

GFC fan

More awareness (perhaps a poster campaign) needs to be raised regarding the issue of eating, texting, being on the phone and smoking at the wheel.


Only last week I was behind a mature lady in dark blue mini who was driving strangely...clearing doing something other than concentrating on the road. I was amazed when I eventually saw her, thru her wing mirror, looking down towards her lap many times and picking up food to put in her mouth!!

Then she over took a cyclist on the bend before La Trelade Hotel (heading towards airport) and there was no way she could have seen any cars coming from opposite direction. Luckily for everyone it was clear.

Crazy behaviour.


I agree that drinking a hot beverage from a cup with no lid is dangerous as is eating a hot curry from a plate on your lap but common sense must prevail.

The police should concentrate their efforts on prosecuting the driver who seal their young children into their car and fill it with cigarette smoke while driving. Oh and they can only do this while taking one hand of the steering wheel so they can fine them twice as much.

Andy Evans

Its not an offence not to have both hands on the wheel. This is bad PR for the Police as they already have a reputation of being bullies and this really does not help the image.


No but driving without due care and attention is an offence and this is what you would be done for.

How many times have you heard of people saying "I just sneezed and lost control" they still get done under that offence.

In fact a friend got done for due care when he wasn't in the car, the hand brake failed and it rolled down the road!

Andy Evans

I disagree about your definition of careless driving particularly sneezing - if the Police behave like this they will lose public support as they have in the UK.


Unfortunately it isn't my definition as it is the law, if you are found not to be in full control of your vehicle for any reason you could be done for due care and attention


The only illegal thing to do in this neck of the woods is to use your cell phone, but a ticket can still be issued for all these other forms if the cop believes that you represent a danger, this is I believe a good medium.


If the police have finances to bust those with a sandwich about their person, they have too much money in their budget.

It is great news that they have every other area of policing under control and have nothing left to do, but sandwich surveillance is not required. I think, cut the wage budget and remove the current advert for extra sandwich spies.


So why do they design cars with cup holders?

Island Wide Voting

Cup holders will soon be very useful to hold the £30 in change required to feed the parking meter each week


IWV - I'm surprised you haven't pointed out the photo as yet another example of "gridlocked Guernsey" and why paid parking is so essential! ;-)

Island Wide Voting

Bugger! A missed opportunity

Mind you the report says that eight drivers were stopped and that is pretty close to a traffic jam according to the 'head greenie' poster

Iron Knee

why cup holders?

simple..when you park up for a break on a long journey you have somewhere to hold your cup!


Good point but why not just pull into a service station or a little chef

And anyway your coffee would be cold after a long trip.


Bet they'd see more drivers without seatbelts on. Reckon I see 2 dozen each week during the course of my daily commute or casual driving on the rock. Young and old. Those self-employed folk strike me as the most foolish since they have the most to lose. I don't get it. On the phone too. The stealth texters naval gazing.

Minor nuisances. But irritating.

‘You are not in control if one hand is free’ - so what about the one-arm drivers out there? They seem to manage ok.



Surely the police have better things to do with time.

Drunken weekends, smash and grab raids.

Criminals damage.

The list is endless.

The real criminals must be laughing their socks off because of this ridiculous time wasting exercise.


And don't forget that it's FULLY LEGAL to make hand signals!

Although it's also not legal for a police officer to use his mobile phone, in uniform, in a police car, leaving the junction at St Clair Hill, but I saw you! I didn't report you because I didn't want to run the risk of having my "card marked for the future" (I know it happens!).


Those are not hand signals it's drivers cooling down their pasties

Billy the fish

Sadly, I fear the real reason behind this is similar to the scratch cards. The Home Department have an FTP target to meet as well as C&L. There is far more money to be made pursuing hapless motorists for things like this than there is in pursuing "other criminals".

No need for costly investigations, no lengthy court cases, no prison costs. Parking 1 minute over? Bang, £30. Ate a jelly baby at the wheel? Boom, £100! And the "stock list" that the police can choose from grows every year.

Not a bad way to make up the Home Department "savings" for the year. But don't get me started again on the FTP..... can open....worms....everywhere!!!!!


why is it one rule for us motorists and one rule for the police?

Herbert Roth

Utter waste of resources. How about doing something useful like providing an increased police presence in the more remote parts of the island from time to time (esp during the tourist season). When have you ever seen a bobby on the beat down at Rocquaine, Vazon, Cobo, L'Ancresse?


Well judge, it was approximately 6.45am. on the day in question when police officer Tom Ato was on a steakout at the Cambridge berth at the harbour when he observed the defendant's car being driven erratically as it was leaving the White Rock Cafe. Officer Ato immediately stopped the vehicle and found the defendant somewhat distracted behind the wheel. He also detected the aroma of bacon and fried eggs coming out of the open driver's window. When he removed the defendant from the vehicle he observed him to be unsteady on his feet. He began to search the said vehicle and found a half eaten ham and cheese sandwich hidden under the driver's seat.When confronted with the evidence, marked here as exhibit (eh?), he said "it's not mine guv'ner a person or persons unknown must have it in for me and planted it there".

It was at this time that the officer surmised that the defendant was under the influence of the brown jelly-like substance that was oozing out of exhibit (eh?). This substance was tested by the Chef Souperintendant in the police canteen and found to be home made mango chutney the recipe of which has been handed down from generation to generation. To this day the defendant has refused to name his accomplice who supplied him with this contraband.

The defendant was cautioned and taken to the police station where he was charged with "masticating without due care and attention". A blood sample was taken, the result of which showed an elevated amount of carbohydrates, triglycerides and an even higher level of cholesterol.

The defendant was placed in the police cells for the rest of the day in order for him to digest his food properly. He was given several cups of black Brooke Bond tea to aid in this process. Apparently he was not satisfied with this and said, and I quote "I've got better than this at home, my wife uses PG Tips" unquote. That in a nutshell is my case, my Lard.

Very well, Inspector Le Cocq au Vin.

At this time I think we will adjourn for lunch and resume once I have had my roast beef and Yorkshire pudding at the OGH and a quick nip of Courvoisier at the Coalhole.

(To be continued as the case continues)

Bill Maguire

Sad people laughing when they make "a bugle of their ass"-( Dante's Inferno).

Hysterics behind the wheel could cause a serious accident.

Roadside checks should include a test for this.

Anything greater than a subdued snigger should be prosecuted.

I'm sure there is a member of the constabulary looking for promotion willing to train for this special task.

ryan 9911

Ah so I see Guernsey's police force is busy as always.