Only in New Zealand

August 6th, 2010 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

is it illegal to drive a motor vehicle and use a cellphone, yet legal to pilot a helicopter and text.

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18 Responses to “Only in New Zealand”

  1. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,914 comments) says:

    Yes but it can be quite fatal.

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  2. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Have you anything to back up the claim that this is only the case in New Zealand?

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  3. Arnold Rimmer (4 comments) says:

    Laws are made in response to people doing stupid things (like driving and texting. Drivers were warned not to text but they ignored it, so the law was introduced.)

    Up till now there haven’t been any pilots stupid enough to text and cause accidents.

    So now that there are pilots stupid enough, it must be time to introduce a no-piloting-and-texting law.

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  4. brucehoult (200 comments) says:

    This is such bullshit.

    If you can’t fly and use the radio to talk to other pilots or ATC at the same time then you can’t get a pilot’s license. A cell phone is just another kind of radio to talk on.

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  5. trout (944 comments) says:

    A topdressing pilot was killed in Opotiki while on a cellphone. He had previously been warned about texting when flying.

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  6. spector (180 comments) says:

    Not much point making a law you can’t police. You can’t exactly cruise along in a police helicopter hoping to spot a pilot sending a text.

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  7. BeaB (2,142 comments) says:

    Legal but not compulsory or intelligent.
    I recall a stormy beach in Carolina where there was a $500 fine for jumping into the waves because of the risk of drowning.
    I am afraid we have a lot of dumb people in NZ and making even more laws doesn’t make them any brainier.

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  8. ben (2,384 comments) says:

    Well, not for long. I’m sure Steven Joyce will be right on this with new anti-texting-while-piloting-light-planes legislation that protects us from ourselves.

    Thanks Steven. New Zealand. Socialists everywhere, in fact.

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  9. RRM (10,001 comments) says:

    Two thoughts on this:

    (1) If you are in a helicopter, and you can see another helicopter, either you are still on the tarmac, or it’s a hella busy day up there. There’s just not the same risk of collision that exists when tens of thousands of vehicles are funnelled through busy narrow corridors e.g. roads.

    (2) Next to the level of training and skill of a chopper pilot, and the discipline that they operate to, people like me that only have drivers’ licenses are semi-trained monkeys at best.

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  10. Mr Magister (409 comments) says:

    Not much point making a law you can’t police. You can’t exactly cruise along in a police helicopter hoping to spot a pilot sending a text.

    No chance of revenue gathering —> no law.

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  11. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    They have the perfect right to kill themselves should they choose.

    Only if anyone else is killed or maimed should their estate be sequestrated to pay any damages in consequence.

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  12. scrubone (3,104 comments) says:

    1. “here’s just not the same risk of collision that exists ” – um, but then there’s always the ground…
    2. “If you can’t fly and use the radio to talk to other pilots or ATC at the same time then you can’t get a pilot’s license. ” – except at least one of the cases concerns texting. Is it compulsory to be able to write emails and fly at the same time?
    3. Enforcement – like most rules, it’s when you break them *and something goes wrong* when the hammer comes down.

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  13. WebWrat (516 comments) says:

    Whilst flying a pilot has to do lots of things in the cockpit, i.e. looking at maps, writing in logs, changing radio frequencies, talking to passengers, pissing into a bottle and etc.

    However if you are flying below the legal limit over a flat calm lake with no depth perception, you would probably not do any of these things.

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  14. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    So we’re going to legislate away sources of risk in the air?

    Use of cellphones cause an issue? Legislate to outlaw cellphone.

    Boeing 737 develops fault? Legislate to outlaw Boeing use.

    So many banning opportunities. So little time.

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  15. godruelf (55 comments) says:

    Wasn’t there a pilot trying to go into Christchurch a few years ago using a cellphone before he hit the ground???

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  16. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    @godrueif

    Wasn’t there a pilot trying to go into Christchurch a few years ago using a cellphone before he hit the ground???

    Quite possibly. And there have been countless other aircraft accidents where pilots where using the radio, adjusting trip computers, setting trim, managing fuel systems or just lackadaisically looking at a magazine. If the objective is to attribute accident causation to some activity, then how many other pilot activities need investigation and banning?

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  17. V (745 comments) says:

    @krazykiwi

    Don’t forget that investigations also found these people breathing and blinking prior to the crash. Time for an immediate ban.

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  18. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    @V – yeah and I heard a ginger put a F15 in the side of mountain a while back. Compulsory hair dye – surely?

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