Feeds

Mobiles and petrol stations do mix

Explosion risk something of a dead granny

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

It is well known to regular Register readers that mobile phones very dangerous pieces of equipment. If they aren't mashing your mojo, they'll be causing brain tumours or enticing you to plunge ten floors to your death in search of a better signal. Just. Plain. Evil.

Or so we thought. But it turns out that they are not quite so diabolical as all that. There is at least one place your mobile phone will not kill you: the forecourt of a petrol station.

We know, we know: a spark from the phone will ignite the fumes bringing all life as you know it to a fiery end. You've read about it, the petrol stations have those nice clear warning signs and you might even have seen it happen on an episode of CSI.

Phones don't kill people, people kill people

But researchers at the University of Kent now say this is not so. In the last eleven years there have been 243 petrol station fires worldwide attributed to mobiles. But according to a paper by Dr Adam Burgess, not a single one was actually caused by a spark from a mobile.

According to investigations by oil company BP, in many cases static electricity discharging from a person created the spark that triggered the blaze.

Burgess told the Press Association: "The petrol station/mobile phone story crosses into the realm of rumour and urban legend. It’s properly groundless, a story of health and safety gone mad."

The bans on using mobile phones at petrol stations were first brought in after the Piper-Alpha oil rig disaster, in which 167 oil-workers lost their lives. According to Burgess, the ban was not actually based on any evidence, but was a precautionary response to the disaster.

He added that there seems to be no desire on the part of UK health and safety officials or oil companies to clarify the situation.

In the mean time, you can only hope that your car doesn't give you a shock next time you fill up...®

Related stories

Deafening phone - Siemens issues health warning
Mobile phones rot your balls
Mobile phones are a pain in the neck
Mobile phones safe report

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.