More on cellphone ban in cars

The Dom Post reports:

A ban on using hand-held cellphones while driving looks set to be in place by October as officials prepare to report back to Transport Minister Steven Joyce this week.

Mr Joyce confirmed yesterday he expected recommendations to land on his desk by the end of the week after lengthy public consultation.

But he has made his intentions clear a ban on texting while driving was a “no-brainer” and he had sympathy for the view that taking calls on a hand-held cellphones should be outlawed.

Hands-free cellphone kits would be allowed.

I look forward to seeing the research that says hands-free cellphones are safer to use in a car than hand-held ones.

Road safety experts suggest that drivers are nine times more likely to have a crash if they are using a cellphone, and cellphone use has been blamed for close to 100 crashes a year.

This is correct, but let us out in context. In 2007 cellphone use contributed to 94 out of 11,667 crashes. That is 0.8% of crashes. And only 3.2% of crashes are fatal, so that suggests three fatal crashes a year have cellphone use as a factor (that does not mean no cellphone use would have resulted in no accident – there are often many factors).

But let us look at all things that are cited as having caused a distraction that was a factor in a crash:

  1. 262 – cigarette, radio, glove box
  2. 130 – scenery
  3. 122 – passengers
  4. 96 – cellphone
  5. 30 – animal/insect in vehicle

So are we going to ban radios? Are we going to ban passengers? How about banning animals – that may stop 30 crashes a year.

106 crashes have a factor if impairment due to old age? Should old people be banned from driving?

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