Sigh, all the newspaper editorials are supporting the proposed ban on non handheld cellphone use in cars. I hope none of them ever have reporters whom they call while out driving to a job!
The Dom Post says:
Driving while using cellphones reduces safety margins. Those who assert they know the difference between safe and unsafe use of phones should ask themselves if they are equally confident that the testosterone-loaded 18-year-old rushing from football practice to meet his girlfriend will show the same good judgment when his phone beeps as he approaches in the opposite direction.
I would retort that 18 year old will simply break the law anyway.
The Press says:
Cellphone use is such a highly visible, plainly dangerous activity that targeting it directly sends a clear road-safety message to drivers. Specific messages are more effective than general ones.
So what has been the impact in countries which have banned callphones? Has the number of deaths and accidents due to distractions dropped, compared to before the ban?
And the Herald says the ban is too timid:
For years, the Government’s failure to ban the use of handheld cellphones while driving has been a complete puzzle. So compelling is the case for outlawing the dangerous practice that any delay appears untenable.
It proposes that the penalty for breaches of the ban would be a $50 fine and 25 demerit points. But American research suggests that so ingrained is the habit of texting and dialling that modest penalties might not be enough to discourage drivers from using cellphones. That seems a reasonable conclusion, especially given that strict enforcement will be difficult. To have an impact, a penalty of at least $150, plus demerit points, would be necessary.
Or how about jail, like with drunk driving? I mean we hear that it is just as bad a distraction, so lets lock up anyone who uses a cellphone in a car – that will be a real deterrent.
Equally compelling is the fact that at least 45 countries, including Australia and most of the European Union, have outlawed handheld phones. In Britain, indeed, matters have moved on to increasing the penalties imposed on motorists whose cellphone use causes the death of a fellow road-user or pedestrian.
This is a very different thing. If one actually causes a fatal accident due to a decision you made to use a phone, then you should face the full force of the law.