The handheld cellphone in car ban

August 17th, 2009 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

As widely expected, the Government has announced it will be an offence to use a handheld cellphone while driving. I’m disappointed by this decision, especially by the lack of evidence it will be effective.

From November 1 it will be against the road rules for drivers to text or talk on a handheld cell phone while driving.

The change is part of the Land Transport (Road User) Amendment Rule and will see drivers using handheld mobile phones receive an infringement notice consisting of an $80 fine and 20 demerit points.

So answer five phone calls while driving, and your license may be gone. I’ve not got anything to worry about as my car stereo uses bluetooth to operate as a hands free device, but I can see a lot of people getting pinged. Ironically people will probably get pinged when it is safest to talk on the phone – waiting at the lights, rather than on a motorway, as the latter is hard to detect.

Transport Minister says that driver distraction – particularly through the use of cell phones – is a real issue on our roads.

“There are a lot of other distractions while driving but handheld mobile phone use has grown to become a significant problem. The reality is we need to send a strong signal to all road users that it’s not on.

But why not action on the other distractions? Why not ban smoking in cars? Why not make it compulsory to have radio controls on the steering wheel to minimise the distraction of tuning the radio?

“Texting and driving, in particular, is a total no brainer.

Agreed and anyone seen texting while driving should be charged under the existing law.

Mr Joyce says allowing hands-free recognises that many business and trades people depend on being available on their cell phones for their livelihood, and that hands-free phones are less distracting to operate than handheld phones.

A number of studies dispute hands-free phones are less distracting. It is pleasing to see some recognition of the costs of banning some , but what we have not seen is a full cost benefit of banning hand helds only.

What I would like to see is projected benefits (lives saved and fewer crashes) vs projected costs (people having to buy hands free kits, fines, enforcement, costs to business of employees less contactable).

And for projected benefits I do not mean just an assumption that crashes where cellphone use was a factor will go from the current level to zero. I’d like to see the overseas evidence that a ban of the nature actually reduces the number of crashes where cellphone use was a factor – and by how much. Has the Government got this info? If not, why not?

Between 2003 and 2008, there were 482 injury crashes and 25 fatal crashes in New Zealand where the use of a mobile phone or other telecommunications device was identified as a contributing factor.

25 fatal crashes over six years is a fatal crash every three months on average. Now as I said above one can not assume that volume of fatal crashes will reduce to zero just because of this new law. I suspect most people will still answer their phone if it rings and is important. And many may just swap to handsfree phones also.

Let us be generous and assume the new law will cut the number of fatal crashes by 25%, where cellphone use is a factor. There is still the weighing up of whether it is appropriate to penalise three million drivers who have cars and cellphones for one less fatal crash every year. Is a reduction in the road toll of 0.25% worth the inconvience and costs of this law?

Maybe it is. I’m not 100% opposed. But I would like to see a proper cost/benefit analysis of the new law. I especially would like to see what the actual fall in crashes has been in overseas countries with similar laws. Does it actually decrease the road toll or does it just lead to lots of fines and demerits?

Tags: ,

49 Responses to “The handheld cellphone in car ban”

  1. infused (652 comments) says:

    I for one will be using my cellphone in the car

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    If NZ is ever going to leave the socialist political condition behind, we desperately need to block people like Stephen Joyce, and his sycophantic supplication to fascist bureaucrats, from entering parliament.

    Joyce is another unwelcome outcome of MMP.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Rick Rowling (825 comments) says:

    infused – you’ll be having a few bevvies before using your cellphone in you car, too, I guess

    http://www.psych.utah.edu/AppliedCognitionLab/HFES2006.pdf

    http://www3.cutr.usf.edu/its/mobile_phone.htm

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    I would suggest that the real eason govt has pursued this action is getting drivers used to more infringement on their driving.

    A few years ago now I saw an item on tv showing a black box bought to this country that will be added to vehicles.

    This is a car satelite tracking system and heavily favoured by some Aklnd City councillors.

    Our driving habits will be monitored and surveilled by police no doubt.

    So far the govt has remained very silent on this technology but of course terroism will be cited to justify it.

    If we were really concerned about terroism, we would allow nuclear ships back here and also the huge financial boost to the economy from American and British dollars and pounds.

    We have no doubt lost billions from this revenue and instead have seen the citizens of this country ravaged on the roads by revenuers in uniform. Now their cars are being taken away cause the govt can’t afford to run the present police fleet.

    I believe the revenue nuclear ships would bring to this country would be a threat to govt justifying its size and bureaucracy.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    As much as I detest Governmental Interference, this makes perfect sense.

    Kiwi drivers are bad enough, distract them with a cellphone, and there is a recipe for disaster.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Cerium (23,434 comments) says:

    Cellphone addiction has become insane. I’m helping a new band at the moment, last night at practice the vocalist checked and answered a text while they sang a song. I’m sure something could have waited 3 minutes. Or 3 hours.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Peter Cresswell (48 comments) says:

    Since there’s undoubtedly at least as many crashes caused by fiddling with and swearing at the car radio, I’m really looking forward to seeing a total ban on car radios — which to be consistent Steven Joyce really has to do, since driver distraction – particularly through the use of car radios – is a real issue on our roads.

    And I’ll be looking forward then to watching everyone who’s now defending this ban change sides — or else realise that any argument they can muster against that ban would be just as valid against this one.

    Let’s face it, the only ‘ban’ that’s needed is a ‘ban’ on dangerous driving. But we already have a law for that, don’t we . . .

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Repton (769 comments) says:

    You argue:

    “Talking on phone, changing radio station, eating — these are all dangerous, so if we ban one, we should ban them all.”

    I might also argue:

    “Cannabis, alcohol, nicotine — these are all harmful to your health, so if we ban one, we should ban them all.”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. voice of reason (491 comments) says:

    Peter Cresswell

    “since driver distraction – particularly through the use of car radios – is a real issue on our roads.”

    What sort of Car Radios do you fella’s have? Every car radio I’ve had for the past 10 years has programmable station buttons.
    eg “fiddling with the car radio” equates to pushing ONE button taking approx half a second.
    If you have a cell phone & presumably know how to enter contacts, send text msgs etc then surely the task of programming a station or two into a radio would not be beyond ones capability.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Rick Rowling (825 comments) says:

    Peter Cresswell – that logic suggests that there also shouldn’t be a ban on driving drunk – as you say, we also have a law for driving dangerously which would cover it – and there are other factors that contribute to dangerous driving apart from being drunk (or using a cellphone).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. projectman (208 comments) says:

    Without debating – here – the merits (demerits!) of the ban, if we are going to be stuck with a ban on hand-held cellphones, it’s time the cellphone manufacturers and the vehicle producers got together to ensure there is a universal hands-free kit available and, preferably, installed in all new cars. That way, people can take their cellphone from car to car and use it appropriately.

    The cellphone makers have got together and agreed to introduce a universal charger – let’s take it a step further and make sure the same applies to hands-free kits.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Angus (536 comments) says:

    Peter Cresswell – The last driving distraction I suffered was when I was 18 on the motorway, gawking at some sixth or seventh form schoolgirl in a bus – ploughed my HQ Kingswood straight into the back of a traffic queue because of that. Therefore by govt decree, all buses should have tinted windows.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. wreck1080 (3,866 comments) says:

    Of course mobile use during driving should be banned. You just need to drive to know that this is the case.

    The number of times I have witnessed some muppet with a mobile glued to their ear nearly cause an accident or just drive badly is amazing. Missed lane changes seem to be common among drivers using mobiles. Meaning, they need to push their way in right at the front of a long queue.

    For obvious reaons, mobiles cause more distractration than than other devices in the vehicle.

    It is only the stupid person that argues that radios should be banned. I can operate my car radio with eyes closed. Can’t do that with my mobile. You gotta unlock the thing first, and if you push the wrong button it doesn’t unlock and you gotta look at the mobile screen status.

    The same stupid person might also argue that the fan controls, and cup holders should also be banned.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Glutaemus Maximus said:

    “As much as I detest Governmental Interference, this makes perfect sense.”

    And thus the same people who denounced (at the top of their lungs) similar proposals by the Labour government, excuse anything the National government does.

    Hil-fucken-arious!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Gulag Archipelago (162 comments) says:

    Truck drivers in the US according to Time magazine are 23 times more likely to have an accident when texting.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Aaron Bhatnagar (43 comments) says:

    @ wikiriwhis business – I am an Auckland City Councillor on the Transport Committee, and I’ve never heard of such an initiative. Who were the councillors who proposed this? The only GPS tracking for vehicles I’m aware of is for buses, to ensure bus patrons know via electronic signs when the next bus is due to arrive at their stop .

    I don’t much agree with a ban on drivers using cellphones in cars either – but to be fair, the government isn’t proposing a complete ban on their use, but only on the use of phones without a hands free kit. You don’t need hugely expensive kit for this – you can buy accessories for most new and recent cellphones to use a bluetooth connection for a wireless hands-free connection, and some cars even have bluetooth connectivity as standard, so you can talk via the stereo interface. A brand new $25,000 Ford Fiesta comes with Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity standard, which would mean people could happy chat hands free.

    Many businesses already have policies regarding cellphone use in business cars already. My old IT firm I used to work for would issue a handsfree kit to every employee for insurance and good practice reasons.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Scott (1,765 comments) says:

    Texting while driving is common-especially among younger drivers-and definitely should be banned.I cannot think of a more dangerous but more widespread practice.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Gulag Archipelago (162 comments) says:

    In Study, Texting Lifts Crash Risk by Large Margin

    By MATT RICHTEL
    Published: July 27, 2009

    The first study of drivers texting inside their vehicles shows that the risk sharply exceeds previous estimates based on laboratory research — and far surpasses the dangers of other driving distractions.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/28/technology/28texting.html

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. jarbury (464 comments) says:

    Bloody Nanny State!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. ben (2,420 comments) says:

    David I agree with your call for a proper cost/benefit analysis – but any economist worth their salt will tell you it is externalities which matter to policy design – i.e. the costs cell phone drivers impose on others. The costs drivers impose on themselves are correctly ignored – this is a cost voluntarily borne and the standard economic argument is the benefits – considered on average and ex ante (an important distinction) – outweigh the cost.

    Focussing on externalities probably massively changes the calculation.

    I have not seen data for cell phone use, but for drink driving around 80% of the people injured or killed are either the drunk driver and people in the car with him.

    So, back of the envelope calculation, take your one crash per year and then further reduce it to account for the share of costs that are external (one fifth) and policy relevant and you get one crash per five years that this legislation will prevent.

    Now lives are valuable things, to be sure, but there is surely more effective policy than this that the government could have done.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. zelia (8 comments) says:

    “I for one will be using my cellphone in the car”

    I, for one, hope you continue to use your cellphone and miscalculate a corner, hit a bank and never drive again..

    ..Before you do the exact same thing, but have a family vehicle on the receiving end. You fucking genius.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. MajorBloodnok (361 comments) says:

    Why do we need a new law? Isn’t there already a law that addresses this situation?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Cerium (23,434 comments) says:

    In July scientists at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute released a data analysis of the behavior of scores of drivers who agreed to have a camera placed in their vehicle for a year or so. After examining footage that preceded crashes and near crashes, the researchers concluded that while manual manipulation of a cell phone (dialing and texting) led to a greater risk of an accident, simple participation in a phone conversation (talking or listening) did not lead to a statistically significant increase in risk.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1916291-1,00.html

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,880 comments) says:

    The reason for the law change is very simple. Under current legislation the cops are not able to prosecute the idiots who insist on texting while driving. Now they will be able to.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. infused (652 comments) says:

    Rick Rowling:

    I’ve drunk driven when younger. I talk on my cell in the car every day, have done for the last 7 years. No crashes. The comparison is stupid.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Brian Smaller (4,038 comments) says:

    Cellphone addiction has become insane. I’m helping a new band at the moment, last night at practice the vocalist checked and answered a text while they sang a song. I’m sure something could have waited 3 minutes. Or 3 hours.

    I agree. But the genie is out of the bottle with this one. How will the police know if you are texting or talking. Will it be illegal to just hold your phone in one hand?

    What sort of Car Radios do you fella’s have? Every car radio I’ve had for the past 10 years has programmable station buttons.
    eg “fiddling with the car radio” equates to pushing ONE button taking approx half a second.

    You must drive around in a town. When I go to Wanganui from Wellington I have to change the radio station all the time as stations drop in and out of coverage. Radio sports operates on four different frequencies through that trip.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. voice of reason (491 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller

    “You must drive around in a town. When I go to Wanganui from Wellington I have to change the radio station all the time as stations drop in and out of coverage. Radio sports operates on four different frequencies through that trip.”

    here you go then, program these:
    Wanganui 1062
    Kapiti 1377
    Wgtn 1503

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. MT_Tinman (3,094 comments) says:

    ‘t’aint just texting that is the problem.

    Follow any halfwit (they’re more often than not middle aged) talking on a ‘phone while driving and watch him (or her) cut corners, fail to signal, vary speed dangerously, go through red/orange lights, fail to keep left – all of which occur regularly while these dick-heads yak – and you’ll understand that point.

    I agree radios and kids also cause serious distractions but seldom does changing a radio station or CD take up much time (‘phone calls often appear to take whole car journeys to complete) and I’m all for baning kids – that’d solve the “climate change” problem as well – neat solution. ;-)

    A bluetooth device like I use costs about $100.

    There is no excuse not to use one.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. voice of reason (491 comments) says:

    “ben (498)
    “The costs drivers impose on themselves are correctly ignored ….”
    …..Focussing on externalities probably massively changes the calculation… ”
    Your asssumption seems to suggest that there are only external costs associated with one in five events
    You seem to have forgotten the costs associated with those services that attend accidents – police, fire, ambo, and afterwards . hospitals, doctors nurses etc

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    DPF,
    your quote, “Between 2003 and 2008, there were 482 injury crashes and 25 fatal crashes in New Zealand where the use of a mobile phone or other telecommunications device was identified as a contributing factor”, shows those figures ONLY where either injury or fatality resulted. The stats. regarding ‘near misses’ are, of course, a mystery.

    As others have mentioned, it is readily observable that driving standards drop significantly when using a hand-held mobile phone. I would argue that for every fatality there are likely to be numerous ‘near misses’ or non injury crashes. The insurance/police stats where mobile phones [hand-held] resulted in vehicle damage alone would likely be very informative. I am unaware, though, if such figures exist.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Rick Rowling (825 comments) says:

    infused: “I for one will be using my cellphone in the car” and “I’ve drunk driven when younger.”
    hmmm

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Brian Smaller (4,038 comments) says:

    voice of reason – the point is that with four programmable buttons and many stations to listen to, people will always have to fiddle with buttons. It is no more distracting than talking on a cell. Certainly no more distracting than keeping kids in order in the back seat on a trip. There are a hundred things to distract a driver and you cannot ban every one of them. I had a bee fly in my open window once and it hit my cheek andgo up behind my glasses. I nearly crashed off the road before I got it away from my eye. Should we ban insects as well?

    And you forgot 89.4 FM

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Follow any halfwit (they’re more often than not middle aged) talking on a ‘phone while driving and watch him (or her) cut corners, fail to signal, vary speed dangerously, go through red/orange lights, fail to keep left – all of which occur regularly while these dick-heads yak – and you’ll understand that point.”

    Will I?

    What evidence do you have to show that the “halfwit” would drive differently with a hands free??

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. annie (540 comments) says:

    It’ll be a relief not to see the dreaded yummy mummy or young idiot/idiotess on the phone in the rear view mirror – speeding up, slowing down, staring up and to the side as they talk. My experience is that the problem is mostly, but not exclusively, with younger drivers. Older people on the phone where I live tend to be tradesman types, and they seem to be thoroughly capable of doing 2 things at once.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. Brian Smaller (4,038 comments) says:

    annie – so far commentators have said the problem is with drivers aged from young to old.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. infused (652 comments) says:

    Yes Rick Rowling,

    We were all stupid once :P

    Anyway, those studies are over 10 years old, back when cellphones were bricks.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. llew (1,533 comments) says:

    “Follow any halfwit (they’re more often than not middle aged) talking on a ‘phone while driving and watch him (or her) cut corners, fail to signal, vary speed dangerously, go through red/orange lights, fail to keep left – all of which occur regularly while these dick-heads yak – and you’ll understand that point.”

    Will I?

    The point is sensible & obvious, so no, of course you won’t.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. llew (1,533 comments) says:

    infused (397) Vote: 0 4 Says:

    August 17th, 2009 at 1:32 pm
    Rick Rowling:

    I’ve drunk driven when younger. I talk on my cell in the car every day, have done for the last 7 years. No crashes. The comparison is stupid.

    Stupid is as stupid does, as Ma Gump used to say.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. llew (1,533 comments) says:

    What evidence do you have to show that the “halfwit” would drive differently with a hands free??

    How about if they’re not talking on a phone at all? Is it pure speculation that a driver might drive differently with both hands on the wheel?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    Projectman said:

    it’s time the cellphone manufacturers and the vehicle producers got together to ensure there is a universal hands-free kit available and, preferably, installed in all new cars. That way, people can take their cellphone from car to car and use it appropriately.

    They do exist – most new cars (ie less than 3 years old) have a bluetooth handsfree capability in their stereo, and most cellphones have bluetooth now too. Not to worry for those of us who choose to have old cars – we can also buy a new stereo with such a capability, or if you are really geeky I can email you how I made the old tape player in my 1990 Camry compatible with my mobile phone and ipod, eliminating the need to buy a new stereo (only cheaper if you don’t count labour costs though).

    There has been a ban on cellphone use in Australia for years (varies from state to state) however I am yet to meet somebody who has got a ticket from using a cellphone, and yes I still see it all the time in traffic on the Gold Coast.

    Also could someone please explain to me how a cop is supposed to tell at a distance whether I am changing the song on my ipod or texting? Both are surely equally distracting but in NZ one is legal and one is about to be illegal.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. gazzaj (106 comments) says:

    So now I have to take my laptop with mobile broadband with me to read Kiwiblog while I’m driving? I’m not sure that’s gonna be any safer than reading it off my cell.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. labrator (1,898 comments) says:

    could someone please explain to me how a cop is supposed to tell at a distance whether I am changing the song on my ipod or texting?

    I’d like to know that too.

    What we’re really talking about is judgement impairment while driving. Drinking impairs you so we legally restrict the amount allowed to be consumed. Drugs similarly impair you but testing is a lot harder. All sorts of other things impair people to whilst driving. Including: visibility, sudden or sustained noises, conversations, kids, pets, dirty windshields etc etc. What needs to be decided is what level of impairment is acceptable.

    The banning of cellphones while driving sends out a mixed signal as to what impairments are acceptable. Women putting on makeup in the car while on the motorway is not explicitly illegal, so is that okay? If we’re going to “send a strong signal” then the signal should be clear. We seem to be using the law to send out a lot of signals lately.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. Gulag Archipelago (162 comments) says:

    The Rode Code

    Cellphones

    It is recommended that you don’t make or receive phone calls or text messages while you’re driving. Instead, pull over and stop in a safe place at the side of the road before using a cellphone.

    http://www.ltsa.govt.nz/roadcode/about-driver-responsibility/responsible-driving.html

    The recommendation does not work, how many actually do it, very, very few. Labour had the opportunity but lacked the guts to do the obvious.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. Gooner (995 comments) says:

    The reason for the law change is very simple. Under current legislation the cops are not able to prosecute the idiots who insist on texting while driving. Now they will be able to.

    Adolf, the “prosecution” is a $80 fine. Man, that’s some prosecution!!!!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    # village idiot (247) Vote: Add rating 4 Subtract rating 8 Says:
    August 17th, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Glutaemus Maximus said:

    “As much as I detest Governmental Interference, this makes perfect sense.”

    And thus the same people who denounced (at the top of their lungs) similar proposals by the Labour government, excuse anything the National government does.

    Hil-fucken-arious!

    Oh go on then, come and regulate my shower pressure! I know you want to.

    Still you can take comfortin your Leaders success, and the Parties standing. Saving up for the next election?

    Without Owen, that is going to prove very costly. Especially when you actually know yo will get decimated.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. Ross.M (2 comments) says:

    Will Steven Joyce bring any more light to transport safety than Harry Duynhoven did? Doesn’t sound like it so far. We need someone with common sense in the position. It may never happen.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if the Police could simply enforce the existing laws rather than having to pile new ones on top? We need to know why the existing ones don’t work and fix that.
    Texting while driving isn’t quite the “no-brainer” that it might seem. Quite apart from the fact that it is as easy as touch-typing to someone who has grown up with it (and that certainly doesn’t include me), it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) require urgent attention in the same way that a phone conversation might. And there are many other things that we all do every time we drive that take our eyes off the road momentarily.
    When you need to concentrate on the road, you can put the phone down (or stop looking at the fuel gauge, or the rear vision mirror, or the speedo, the clock, your tic-tacs….) and resume your text later. But it is quite hard to do that while you are talking on the phone, handsfree or not.
    I’m not saying that everybody can or does text and drive safely, but I have to agree that for me, a modern radio with over a dozen small, odd-shaped, randomly scattered buttons is a far worse distraction than a cellphone. (What happened to knobs?) Accidentally touch the wrong button and you can be unexpectedly blasted by something very loud, distorted and unmusical. (Other times it’s not Michael Laws or J.T, but a music station.) After-market radios are the worst offenders here, but even the original equipment ones can be very confusing. I drive different cars every day and it is not uncommon that I have to stop and spend quite some time finding how to even turn the thing off.
    Peter Cresswell is not wrong. Brian Smaller, try renting a car and see how long it takes you to get to grips with the radio.
    However, the real problem is that all those idiots we see driving carelessly while talking on their phones are going to be driving carelessly whatever the situation. It’s just that we can see the phone and we assume it is the cause of the distraction.
    People who take driving seriously don’t allow themselves to become distracted – well, very rarely. We are soon to be outnumbered by those who just don’t seem to think about the consequences of their actions…
    The majority are once again penalised for the actions of the few… (rant.. rant.. rave..rave..)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. thedavincimode (6,612 comments) says:

    Scott

    “Texting while driving is common-especially among younger drivers-and definitely should be banned.I cannot think of a more dangerous but more widespread practice.”

    Reading maps and newspapers, getting a blow job, eating and having an uncontrollable sneezing fit.

    Can’t see why this isn’t careless driving or some such (apart from the last example) and why they actually need a new law. The really silly thing is that just hanging onto a cell phone is no different to talking to a passenger with one arm off the wheel. Juggling a cup of coffee and a meal is probably a hell of a lot more dodgy. The dangerous bit is dialing the number (like texting).

    Maybe they figure that a blanket ban gets rid of the bit that’s actually dangerous, and the rest is just an acceptable inconvenience to stop the keypad punching. Or mabe that pointless Captain Pugwash lookalike figures he can get his crime-busting stats up.

    It will be interesting to see if a ban on fine dining and monitoring current affairs behind the wheel follows. But I doubt there would be much support from Liabore to ban blowjobs on the move.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Its another piece of fascist nonsense designed to appease the middle ground inbreds that make up NZ.

    Personally I think if you really wanted to reduce traffic accidents you would raise the speed limit.I find trying to mantain intrest at 50km an hour impossible and nod off…..the higher the speed the higher the focus on the road.

    And our pathetic road signage must kill a fair few a year as well as drivers try and squint in vain to see what streets what…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. Ross.M (2 comments) says:

    Actually, James, the Street Name signage in NZ is not too bad by international standards. (That’s not to say it couldn’t be improved.) It’s every other type of road sign that is crap. The latest trick is to put the motorway off-ramp signs just after the actual off-ramp, usually totally obscured around a bend by a high concrete wall. So if you are not sure where you are going you’re history – because by the time you have seen and read the sign it is already too late.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.