Mess mobile

By Legal Eagle

Following on from SL’s recent post, ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’ comes the story of a German woman who was booked by police for driving her car while it was full of junk. Police said that the woman had to press her face against the windscreen because of the amount of junk. She now has to pass a ‘tidiness’ test before she can drive again.

Again, there is an implied equation of cleanliness with moral worth. Whether one has a messy car is neither here nor there. (I must confess that my car is, erm, well, a bit of a filth pit). To me the issue here is not one of the woman’s cleanliness, but whether she could drive safely, and whether she was endangering other road users because her vision was impaired by the junk. Intervention should only occur when the mess impacts upon the safety or health of others; otherwise, it’s the woman’s personal space, and she can be as messy as she likes.

(Via Business Pundit, hat tip Dave Bath)


  1. Posted January 10, 2009 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Yep, car interiors are a reasonable extension of the castle doctrine.

  2. Posted January 10, 2009 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    My car is just a big red handbag with wheels.

  3. Posted January 10, 2009 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    My “car” is a pair of shoes, and on a stinking (literally) hot day, might be considered a hazard/distraction to others if they get too close and breath too deeply.

  4. Posted January 10, 2009 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    My “car” is an electric mobility scooter that looks like a harley davidson but with the entertaining ability to silently sneak up on pedestrians.

  5. Posted January 12, 2009 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Having just finished working in Düsseldorf (where this woman was arrested) and famous for not having the most orderly car on the planet, a couple of ex-colleagues actually dared to ask if it was me the police had stopped.

    The cheek of it! Grrr!!

    Well… Maybe I do have to clean the car a bit!!!

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