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Man Fined for Scratching While Driving
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MADRID, Spain - Highway police who stopped a driver they believed was using his cell phone erred twice. First, he was just scratching his ear. Second, he was a lawyer.
Tomas Valdivielso showed the two officers that the last call from his phone went out the night before. The duo huddled, then came back and fined him $70 anyway.
The charge: driving while "holding his ear with his right hand in a permanent fashion."
"Am I on hidden camera?" Valdivielso recalls saying, according to Thursday's edition of the newspaper El Mundo.
The flap happened Nov. 7 while Valdivielso drove into Madrid on a busy highway in the morning rush hour.
Valdivielso filed a 10-page appeal that El Mundo praised as a work of tongue-in-cheek art.
The appeal says the fine failed to say which ear was being held, or even how many ears Valdivielso has, and argues that Spanish law does not bar scratching them while driving or oblige motorists to pull over to do it.
Valdivielso wrote: "To presume that this unconscious act cannot be performed would lead us to the absurd situation of having to wait to stop the vehicle in a place that does not pose a danger for other occupants of the road in order to scratch, by which time, depending on how bad the itch is, I probably would have crashed before finding an adequate place to stop, or the itch would have gone away, reducing the pleasure I get from scratching."