BMW of North America President/CEO Jim O’Donnell handed the keys to a Mini Cooper hardtop to Police Chief Anthony Jannicelli and Mayor Joseph LaPaglia who received the MINI on behalf of the Borough of Woodcliff Lake. “As a car company we value safe driving as much as we do having a safe community,” said Jim O’Donnell. “All of us in BMW Group believe strongly in 'DON’T TXT & DRIVE' and this Mini will carry that message wherever it goes and be a powerful reminder of a serious issue.”
To understand why this is a ridiculous idea one has to understand Woodcliff Lake, which is located in Bergen County, N.J. It's an affluent area full of high-powered luxury vehicles. That Mini Cooper, with an estimated 0-60 time of 8 hours, isn't going to be able to catch anything except a baby stroller.
OK, so its 0-60 time isn't that bad (about 8 seconds) but who is going to take a Mini police cruiser seriously? It's kind of like cops in bike shorts. Sure, they can still club you viciously but their first impression is not commandeering dominance.
Also, what's it going to do to your self-esteem to be pulled over by a Mini? And, what do you want to bet that most people stopped for texting and driving are going to post on Twitter, while the ticket is being written, "Just got stopped by the cutest Mini cruiser but with a full-size cop! LOL! ☹"
That's another thing. Once a cop squeezes in with his gun belt and other equipment (like laptop, thermos, cell phone, shot gun), there's not going to be any room left to drive.
Plus, you have to drive a Mini to truly appreciate its lack of visibility. How are cops going to be able to see out of a Mini to enforce this ban on texting and driving?
“This vehicle drives home a critical point,” said Woodcliff Lake Police Chief Anthony Jannicelli. “A driver taking his eyes off the road for five seconds at 60 miles per hour to just read a text message travels the length of football field essentially with his eyes closed.”
So, of course, all of our observations about the Mini police cruiser are presented in jest. Texting and driving is a serious issue. People get killed because of it. You can get killed or seriously hurt while doing it, even when stopped in traffic, because, as the chief pointed out, you can travel a great distance in the blink of an eye.
Head over to the government's website on distracted driving. It will really open your eyes to what a serious problem this.
But please, what does a cute Mini Cooper as a police cruiser have to do with all of this? Is it targeted at latte sipping housewives?