Two embarrassing driving distractions

September 22nd, 2009 at 5:39 am by David Farrar

First the Herald reports:

American , who moved to New Zealand from Washington DC to become 2degrees’ chief executive nearly two months ago, said he had glanced down at the Google Maps function on his phone when he drove into a stationary vehicle at an inner-city Auckland intersection. …

Mr Hertz’s phone was in a hands-free cradle, and always is when he is in the car.

This would not be covered by the change in law mooted by the Government.

And in another Herald story:

National’s Hunua MP has been dobbed in for reading while driving on the Auckland motorway and his attitude is it’s a “fair cop”. …

Dr Hutchison said it was him yesterday and thanked the reader for reporting him.

“Anyone who dobs someone in for driving unwisely is doing their public duty and that’s fair enough. Caught red-handed – or blue-handed,” he said.

He had been “frantically” going from one meeting to another on the Auckland governance issue.

“If I was driving unwisely I shouldn’t have been and I will endeavour to correct my ways,” he said.

I note this also will not be covered by the law change.

This is why I prefer a general law on distractions while driving, rather than picking on handheld cellphones only.

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18 Responses to “Two embarrassing driving distractions”

  1. AndrewE (24 comments) says:

    Fairly typical of most MPs really – do as I say not as I do. Although I guess that applies to most of us to be fair.

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  2. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    Not so typical is the straight up admission of having done something wrong.

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  3. pdm (844 comments) says:

    What is happening in New Zealand. Now we have a Government Member who `fesses up’ when caught doing something he shouldn’t.

    So so different from this time last year.

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  4. ernesto (257 comments) says:

    How was Rodney Hide in sideswipe… obviously hard working but he could pick his moments a bit better.

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  5. Colonel Masters (409 comments) says:

    So… I presume both of these gents will be charged with dangerous driving?

    One of the best arguments against the cellphone ban was that there were already existing laws to take care of that sort of thing. Demonstrably not if nothing happens to these clowns.

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  6. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    This why these “dob in” initiatives are dangerous. Any coward is able to use them to embarass or cause trouble to other people they may have a grudge against. It was probably a Labour Party supporter who dobbed in Hutchinson. Despicable.

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  7. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “This is why I prefer a general law on distractions while driving”

    I must tell that to the guy in germany who designed the elaborate dashboard in my car

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  8. tvb (4,416 comments) says:

    Then lets ban small children in cars, they are a distraction, lets ban passengers who yell out suddenly, smoking in cars of course, radios playing loud music. And on it goes. The law has reached its limit, safer cars and roads is the answer now.

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  9. david (2,557 comments) says:

    I nearly got cleaned up by a bus yesterday, obviously coming in to town from the International Airport with a load of new Chinese or Korean arrivals, the driver was giving a commentary into a hand held karaoke style microphone while he drove with the other hand. Something you will likely find around many narrow roads of the country during the tourist season.

    Obviously a major distraction and potentially lethal but is it covered by the new legislation?

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  10. Rakaia George (313 comments) says:

    tvb – better cars is not the answer. Personally I think bloody great spikes sticking out of the steering wheel and dashboard would do a lot to focus drivers minds on the task in hand…

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  11. jcuknz (704 comments) says:

    Safer roads and cars may be the answer, but it is an answer of failure, failure to teach people to drive properly and people to remember what they have been taught. Roads don’t cause accidents but rather the inability of the driver, for whatever reason, to read the road and adjust their driving accordingly. So far I have managed to avoid having safety bags in any car I’ve owned, I rarely have the radio on when moving etc.

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  12. jcuknz (704 comments) says:

    I have just noted an addition to the site, request deletion, which may be a good thing for when you write something you regret but to be truely useful it should remain permanently as I have found on some blogs. A few minutes to realise you have made a mistake is hardly long enough.

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  13. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    I well recall heading out from my office in Perth (1980), followed by a staff member in a company van. He was late for lunch and was eating a meat pie while driving. I had to brake sharply and years later, indelibly etched in my mind, is his face pressed hard up against his windscreen, smothered in mince and pastry.

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  14. Mark (10 comments) says:

    I agree the law is a bad one and that general distractions should be dealt with, if they’re not already. What I’d like to know David, is why you quote the research showing hands-free phones to be just as dangerous as regular phones, yet you continue to use one. Do you have some special ability that makes it safe for you, do you think the research is just wrong, or do you think that the only person likely to suffer the consequences of an accident is yourself and therefore it’s a personal decision?

    (I will accept there’s a big difference between your hands-free and the chap I rode past on my bike last week driving at 20kph so he could finish the text he was typing in his lap)

    [DPF: I use my hands free phone subject to the conditions, just as almost everything I do in the car is subject to the conditions on the road. I judge relative safety based on congestion, speed, road quality, weather, visibility etc]

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  15. tvb (4,416 comments) says:

    There is a limit to what you can achieve by bossing people around. Safer cars and roads is the answer.

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  16. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    “Safer cars and roads is the answer.”

    Mollycoddled cocoons. Nanny roads in a nanny state.

    We don’t want to be told what to do, we just want it all done for us.

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  17. tvb (4,416 comments) says:

    And there is a limit to what people will accept from nanny unless you are a school teacher or Union Official. They think bossing people IS the answer and people will listen.

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  18. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    That’s a phenomenal act of multi-tasking from my MP. It’s good to see him in the media for once, even if it was for this particular transgression.

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