Danish transport MP breaks traffic law he helped make… while driving campaign car with photo on door

Kim Christiansen, the spokesperson for traffic with the Danish People’s Party, has gone viral on social media after a photo was posted showing him breaking road laws he voted for.

Danish transport MP breaks traffic law he helped make... while driving campaign car with photo on door
Kim Christiansen. File photo: Liselotte Sabroe / Ritzau Scanpix

Christiansen was photographed driving on a motorway north of Aarhus while holding a mobile telephone to his ear, in breach of traffic laws, media including Ekstra Bladet and Politiken reported.

There was no doubt that the MP, who voted in favour of stricter traffic laws in December last year, was the owner of the vehicle in question – an outsized portrait of his face, along with his name and party logo, was plastered on the driver’s side doors.

The photo gained traction on social media on Thursday after being shared on Twitter. The photo was not taken by the owner of the account which posted it, according to comments on the post linked below.

Ekstra Bladet, which published the photo along with a video ostensibly taken just before or after it, reports that the motorist who recorded the footage wished to remain anonymous, but said that Christiansen was travelling at around 100 kilometres per hour at the time.

In December last year, Christiansen was part of a broad parliamentary majority which voted to introduce harsher punishments for using a cell phone while driving: a 1,500-krone fine and penalty points added to the offender’s driving licence. The new penalties are yet to be implemented.

Christiansen has been chairperson of the Danish Road Safety Commission (Færdselssikkerhedskommissionen) since 2016 and is a member of the parliamentary Transport, Building and Housing Committee.

Contacted by Ekstra Bladet for comment, the MP claimed he had been “listening to music” on his telephone, rather than using it to make a call, when the images were taken. He added that he “didn’t know whether this was illegal”.

When it was pointed out that this was in fact illegal under clause 55a in the Danish traffic law, the transport spokesperson said he would “take this into account”.

“I apologize, of course, if it is illegal. It won’t happen again,” he said.

In its report on the matter, Politiken writes that it “wanted to ask whether (Christiansen), as chair of the Danish Road Safety Commission, has a special responsibility for his behaviour on the road”.

But the MP “cut off the conversation before we reached that stage,” the newspaper reports.

READ ALSO: Denmark's motorways are getting busier

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Coronavirus: Danish government calls for end to hoarding

Denmark's government has called on people to stop hoarding food and other essentials after supermarkets were hit by a sudden rush on Wednesday night.

Coronavirus: Danish government calls for end to hoarding
Shoppers in Ringsted. Photo. A collage of empty shelves in Danish supermarkets after a spate of hoarding on Wednesday night. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Scanpix
“We encourage people to shop normally and to follow the current advice,” Food Minister Mogens Jensen said at a press meeting on Thursday morning.  “There is no problem with the security of supply at our stores, but there is a problem with hoarding.” 
Following the announcement of far-reaching measures to slow the spread of coronavirus on Wednesday night, supermarkets across Denmark faced an onslaught of shoppers, stripping the shelves of some items. 
The panic to secure supplies was so intense that police were called to a branch of Netto in Odense on the island of Funen, and to a supermarket in southern Jutland where a group of customers refused to leave at closing time, according to Denmark's state broadcaster DR.  
A collage of empty shelves in Danish supermarkets after a spate of hoarding on Wednesday night. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Scanpix. 
Danish Twitter was on Wednesday night and Thursday morning filled with images of supermarket queues and empty shelves. 
The country's leading supermarkets, Salling Group, Coop, Dagrofa and Rema 1000, on Wednesday a joint press release assuring consumers that they had adequate supplies of all products, asking them not to change their shopping habits. 
“We will all throughout the supermarket industry make sure that we remain continuously stocked,” Dagrofa said in a tweet. 
Simon Kollerup, Denmark's Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, on Thursday urged “calm and sanity”. 
“The government is in close contact with the retailers and the government, and the message from the supermarkets is clear: The shops are open as usual,” he told the Ritzau newswire. “There are items in stock and the trucks are operating as normal. There are enough goods for everyone.”