By Nigel Bunyan in the Daily Telegraph 05 Mar 2009
A motorist was stopped by a police officer and questioned because he was laughing at the wheel.
When Mr Saunders got out of his car, the policeman told him: ‘Laughing while driving a car can be an offence.
Gary Saunders, a company director, was using a hands-free phone when he burst out laughing at a joke told by his brother-in-law, who he was talking to.
A few moments later he noticed a traffic officer flashing his lights at him and gesticulating at him to stop his Renault.
When Mr Saunders got out of his car, the policeman told him: “Laughing while driving a car can be an offence.”
The officer spent half an hour questioning his suspect before reluctantly allowing him to carry on his way.
However, he took another hour-and-a-half of Mr Saunders’ time by ordering him to produce his licence and other documents at a police station.
Mr Saunders, the managing director of Spontex Workwear, of Liverpool, said the delay meant that he missed an important appointment.
“I couldn’t believe it when he told me I’d been pulled over for laughing,” he said. “I was driving very safely in the Birkenhead Tunnel and took a call.
“He said something funny and I was laughing – simple as that. I never took my eyes off the road and was in full control of the car.
“I definitely wasn’t speeding so I asked what the problem was and he told me I was laughing too much.”
He went on: “The officer accused me of throwing my head back in a dangerous way, which I denied since it is definitely not something I do.
“It became a bit ridiculous when he wanted to know the colour of my hair as I have alopecia and there isn’t a hair on my head. “When I pointed this out he asked: ‘What colour was your hair when you had some?’
“It went from ludicrous to unbelievable. He definitely had a bee in his bonnet about something and I got the brunt of it.
“In the end he reluctantly admitted that he had nothing he could accuse me of, but still required me to take my documents to the station.”
Supt Kevin Hagger, of the Mersey Tunnels Police, said: “I wouldn’t want to make a comment as I don’t know the full details.
“There is no record of the incident in the system so it seems the gentleman was just spoken to by the officer and the matter not taken any further.”
A spokesman for the Association of British Drivers said: “This is a shocking example of the police harassing innocent motorists simply because they are an easy target.
“To suggest that a driver could be prosecuted for laughing is ludicrous beyond belief. What next? Can we expect to hear of people being stopped for sneezing or coughing while they are at the wheel?”