‘Cereal’ offender caught breaking road rules twice in 10 minutes

By Simon Ruppert

Two Benalla drivers have been fined for eating, with both hands, while driving and steering with their knees in the past two days.

Benalla Highway Patrol officers caught a 46-year-old woman eating her breakfast while driving in Benalla on Wednesday, February 26.

The following morning officers were shocked to observe a man eating a bowl of cereal, with both hands; he was also stopped and fined.

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Benalla Highway Patrol Acting Sergeant Owen Clarke said it was shocking that a second person would take such a risk, only a day after the first incident was highly publicised.

"The interesting thing is that the man this morning (Thursday, February 27) had already been stopped and fined, only 10 minutes earlier, for using a mobile phone whilst driving," Sgt Clarke said.

"The first detective that stopped him saw the bowl of cereal on the passenger seat and asked the driver if he planned to eat it whilst driving.

"The driver replied that it was for him to eat when he arrived at his destination."

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For his trouble he faced a fine of $248 and three demerit points to add to the $496 fine and four demerit points he had earned only minutes earlier.

In the incident on Wednesday officers observed a woman driving along Hume Fwy allegedly steering with her knees while holding a plate in one hand and a fork in the other about 8.40 am.

Police intercepted the black Holden station wagon and issued the Benalla woman with an infringement notice for failing to have full and proper control of a vehicle, at a cost of $248.

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Sgt Clarke said an issue arose when a driver dedicated themselves to an activity behind the wheel that used both hands, which prevented them having the means to control the vehicle.

"A driver can have a cup of coffee, or a 'traveler' pie, if they are holding the wheel, can use the indicators and are still in control of the vehicle," Sgt Clarke said.

"If a driver is observed doing any activity that takes both their hands off the wheel, they will face a fine and demerit points.

"If a driver causes an accident, and it is deemed they were doing something that takes both hands off the wheel, the consequences could be much worse."

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