Herald on Cellphone ban while driving

The Herald joins the campaign to ban .  Never mind there are many more dangerous distractions when driving, this one is flavour of the month.

People have got excited that Vodafone and Telecom have said they support such a ban.  This is not quite correct. They only want non-hands free use banned. This would not actually lead to a revenue drop for them, but a revenue gain as hundreds of thousands would have to buy a hands free kit.

And research has tended to show that cellphone use is almost equally distracting, whether or not it is hands free or not.  So such a ban would be a claytons response.

The Herald says:

For the purposes of impact and clarity, there must be a ban. Education programmes go only so far.

But where is the evidence for this assertion. Has ever run an education programme on cellphone use in cars? Would a rational response to the issue not be to first run an education programme, and only if it fails, then consider a ban?

So why not have a MOT road safety advertising campaign on the dangers of cellphone use (or even on wider distractions) in cars, and how to mitigate these.  Points could be:

  • Keep calls as short as possible – the longer they are, the more risk you incur
  • Judge the conditions – avoid any phone use in sub-optimal conditions such as congested roads, bad weather etc.
  • Never ever text while moving
  • Pull over to dial someone
  • Always get a passenger to answer your phone for you, if you are not driving alone

Justification for a ban often cites many other countries  have done it. But has it had any effect? Are there stats showing a decline in accidents due to cellphone use? Or has it just resulted in thousands more tickets?

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