As far as we knew it, drinking coffee while driving was OK. At least one police officer, though, begs to differ.
A Wickham woman was driving with two colleagues along Donald Street at Hamilton. She was on the way to Sydney for work and drinking a coffee. Which, we might add, would have given her a decent dose of alertness for the long drive ahead.
Anyhow, a highway patrol motorbike pulled up alongside her at the intersection of Donald and Beaumont streets. The police officer tapped on the window.
"He started telling me that it was unsafe to be drinking coffee while I was driving. You could see he was pretty unimpressed," the woman said.
"He was telling me that I should be concentrating on driving and that he could give me a $495 fine and take three points from my licence.
"I had no idea I was doing anything wrong. Then he said if I wanted to drink the coffee, I should pull over and have a drink, not just takes sips as I drive along."
The road rules state that a driver must not drive a vehicle unless the driver has proper control of the vehicle.
While it's obvious that using a mobile phone, eating, putting on makeup and turning around to smack the kids while driving is dangerous, Griffith University research found that drinking water while driving was not a distraction from driving.
We would have thought having a non-alcoholic drink while on a long drive would be a smart thing to do, whether that be to quench the thirst, stay alert or give a quick energy boost. After all, dehydration can leave you feeling drained and fatigued. Which isn't good for driving. But then, neither is being distracted, which we guess is possible if you are doing anything other than focussing on the road.
Call us Sergeant Topics if you like, but the biggest crime here, as far as we can tell, is drinking bad coffee while driving.
Cane Toad Testicles
Cane toads have been spotted quite a bit in the Hunter this year. They've been seen at Metford, Medowie, Eleebana and Swansea.
Australian Reptile Park general manager Tim Faulkner said last week that a cane toad found at Somersby was croaking - a sign he was seeking a female for breeding. Female cane toads can lay between 8000 and 25,000 eggs. That sounds scary, but some new research out of Macquarie University has shed new light on the subject.
"It turns out that male cane toads are more interested in dispersal than sex at the invasion front," Professor Rick Shine said.
The professor said the testicles of cane toads at the edge of their territory were about 30 per cent smaller than their counterparts in the Queensland heartland, where they're abundant.
This apparently means they won't reproduce easily in NSW. Cockroaches will be pleased, as will our native animals.