Cellphones in Cars

December 10th, 2006 at 3:34 pm by David Farrar

Just because you are somewhat moronic to text message while driving a car, doesn’t mean that all cellphone use in cars is dangerous.

There is a difference between taking a 30 second phone call while at traffic lights, or moving slowly through town and trying to text message and drive at the same time. Whether or not use of a cellphone is risky depends on numerous factors – your speed, the road conditions, the length of the call, whether you are calling or receiving, whether you have hands free, whether you have a passenger.

A total ban on cellphone use is the last option, not the first option. Many many NZers gain great benefits from being able to communicate whil in a vehcile. For some businesses it is essential.

Here are some steps the Govt could take, before advocating a ban (which may not even change behaviour and just lead to lots of fines):

1) Advertising Campaign targetted specifcally at consequences of having phones distract you while driving

2) General blitz on all driving activity where driver appears to be distracted

3) Handing out warning pamphlets to drivers seen driving and on the cellphone about the risk of accidents due to distraction

4) Prosecuting more people for accidents where avoidable distractions were a factor

5) Increasing the penalties and threshold for driving and/or having an accident when distracted

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