The car cellphone ban

November 29th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Mathew Dearnaley in NZ Herald reports:

Police are shocked at the high numbers of drivers still dividing their attention between cellphones and the road, three years after calling or texting at the wheel was banned.

“That’s appalling, isn’t it?” said national road policing manager Superintendent Carey Griffiths, when told how in one hour, the Herald counted 29 people using phones while driving north through Auckland’s 80km/h central motorway junction yesterday afternoon.

I’m not surprised. An educational campaign would be better than a ban.

Mr Griffiths said the number of tickets issued to cellphone offenders had risen steadily since the ban was imposed.

Of course. If people need to take a call, they take a call. I always said I doubted it would change behaviour – just get more fines.

The most blatant texter yesterday was a truckie punching a message into a phone he was holding above his steering wheel.

But he was possibly out-pointed for road peril by a woman who took both hands off her steering wheel to fix her hair while starting the descent to the motorway tunnel under Victoria Park.

Mr Griffiths agreed that cellphones were far from the only source of distraction.

This is what I objected to. The ban was on cellphone use only. Why not ban fixing your hair, changing the radio, eating, drinking in cars for drivers? They are all distractions. Far better would have been a focus on safe driving and use the general careless driving laws to get people who drive unsafely due to a cellphone etc.

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32 Responses to “The car cellphone ban”

  1. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    The road toll has gone down dramatically enough for the govt to moot a higher road speed to 110 kph.

    Road revenue would be harder to collect so I can’t see it happening.

    Police are also raiding drunk drivers homes to harass them at any time. There will be a time when they will harass anyone with demerit points.

    I think the public should tell police to stop their whinging. We are more educated and should be treated with that respect.

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  2. loonybonkersmad (27 comments) says:

    Biggest distraction in a car: kids.

    I suggest we impose a ban on children in cars. That will get them walking to school, and everywhere else for that matter.

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  3. jaba (2,089 comments) says:

    last year I had accelerated to 100k on a country road when a SOB came out of a side ride right in front of me .. a car was coming the other way wanting to turn into that road so I couldn’t pass him. I was seconds from being killed and or killing others because this ignorant prick was on his mobile .. I recovered took off and pasted him and he was still on the ph and hadn’t seen a thing.
    I have also just taken up bike riding. I hope those people who think they are great drivers and can talk on their mobiles and still be aware of all around them get caught and jailed forever.
    Anyone can say we should therefore ban radios, talking etc and they are right on one level BUT to justify the talking on mobiles with that excuse is just silly

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  4. thedavincimode (6,539 comments) says:

    jaba

    That was Scott Chris. He enjoys tailgating too.

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  5. Lance (2,461 comments) says:

    The ultimate horror story would be to confiscate any cellphone on the spot if caught.

    Oh the humanity

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  6. tvb (4,210 comments) says:

    Yes children are a big distraction. And it should be illegal to drive with only one adult present when there are children in the car. Like like many road traffic laws there is no consistency. Take speeding. The Police routinely ignore speeding limits but they expect others to respect the laws. There is far too much reliance on punitive measures which are really just a tax on the motorist. I think many restrictions on the motorist are stupid.

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  7. scrubone (3,050 comments) says:

    The ban on cellphone use while driving is causing global warming.

    I have to pull over and take the call. The re-acceleration causes more petrol use and pollution than if I had kept driving.

    Where are the greens on this?

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  8. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    Yes, kids in the car are distracting, but it’s different to using a phone. Kids, passengers, food, cigarettes, musical devices all distract, as do things external, but they amongst many things you observe in your current environment.

    Using a phone is different because it takes your mind away from your immediate surroundings. You switch to autopilot, much less aware of anything in your driving environment – using your hands and eyes and ears for things quite removed from driving. That’s more dangerous.

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  9. nocommentkiwi (35 comments) says:

    I can’t say I’m in favour of the ban as an effective means of addressing the issue – but one positive thing I notice it has done; pretty much all businesses that operate fleets or tradespeople in vans now have hands-free sets. That must reduce quite a lot of texting/calling while driving. Of course, you’re always going to get some rogues, but most businesses seem to have provided hands-free [if only because of reputation mgmt].

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  10. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    This is what happens when you have morons who ignore the evidence making legislation. It was always going to happen. The evidence from overseas was crystal clear that there would be an initial short drop in phone use which would quickly recover to pre-legislation levels.

    It was also clear that talking on a handheld mobile was no more dangerous than on a handsfree. Also that those who drove dangerously whether or not they were on the phone are most likely to have accidents while phoning. And women are more likely than men.

    Yes, texting while driving should have been banned but adding talking from handhelds was just stupid and brought the whole law into disrepute – apart from being completely ineffective.

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  11. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    An educational campaign would be better than a ban.

    Any research to back this up, DPF?

    Thought not, just more stuff that sounds good to the ignoranti so it must be right.

    Of course. If people need to take a call, they take a call. I always said I doubted it would change behaviour – just get more fines.

    Yet police statistics show that cellphone use in cars nose-dived after the law was enacted. If people are backsliding then we need to police to lift enforcement – after all, JK says they have more time on their hands these days.

    I guess one could also say laws against murder don’t deter people from killing others – just gets more clients for private prisons.

    And I think you will find most of your other reductio ad absurdum examples are covered under more general ‘due care and attention’ provisions and the police in this case felt legal clarity was needed.

    Funny to see the police undermined on a right wing blog, though!

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  12. rg (197 comments) says:

    Stephen Joyce is a control freak, better suited to the Labour Party. Politicians like him can’t resist doing things even when there is no point to them. National’s ETS is another example and John Key’s anti smacking legisaltion. Yes National did not introduce either of those, ut it has kept them when there is no reason to.

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  13. Manolo (13,396 comments) says:

    Well said, rg.

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  14. Paulus (2,503 comments) says:

    Easy – allow the Police to take the phone away immediately and retain for 28 days.
    Impose a fine of $100 payable at Post Office receipt to be taken when phone collected.
    Yes – many will just buy another phone – but will they remember everything on it – including photos etc as well as phone numbers ?

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  15. Mary Rose (393 comments) says:

    >Why not ban fixing your hair, changing the radio, eating, drinking in cars for drivers? They are all distractions.

    And all covered already under the banner of ‘careless driving’.

    >An educational campaign would be better than a ban.

    Are you suggesting more of those lovely public service TV adverts?!

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  16. Harriet (4,532 comments) says:

    DPF#

    “…..Why not ban fixing your hair, changing the radio, eating, drinking in cars for drivers? They are all distractions. Far better would have been a focus on safe driving and use the general careless driving laws to get people who drive unsafely due to a cellphone etc…”

    If you needed to concentrate on drinking something to the same level that you would need to concentrate on useing a mobile, then you may have a problem David! Dementia maybe? :cool:

    That aside, not all careless driving is accident free, some careless driving causes accidents in the ‘blink of an eye’ and if police think that they could police that, then well, they’re bloody idiots. :cool:

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  17. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    Texting is worst. Anyone can drink a cuppa or eat a sandwich and drive.

    The police should be given the power to viciously club anyone caught texting and driving.

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  18. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    The number one cause of road deaths is people saying things like: “Those rules are just to stop bad drivers. I’m a good driver, so I can text/drink/speed and drive at the same time and not cause trouble”.

    There’s a good 30 percent of the population who are feral scofflaws and they need to be kept off the road.

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  19. Viking2 (11,147 comments) says:

    The brain has only got so much RAM, i.e. working space, and driving and using a cellphone require the same space. Driving is the more important to mother road users than your phone call which you didn’t need anyway. After all you couldn’t take a phone call before you had a cellphone. Get your shit together and grab control of your life (and possibly someone else’s), Because you allow it the phone controls your day. It shouldn’t and doesn’t need to. That’s why you all get stressed to the max.

    Fuck those that drive and use cellphones. You should have your car confiscated.

    But because your reasoning ability to rationlize is so pathetic you are unable consider that you do have an issue with your brain and your life..

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  20. Rich Prick (1,557 comments) says:

    Lets get one thing clear. What is banned is holding the phone to your ear (and texting I suppose), using a phone hands-free is allowed. The argument that phones distract must be wrong, otherwise the great whallahs would have banned phone use. The whole thing does not make sense.

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  21. thedavincimode (6,539 comments) says:

    I imagine that blowjobs will be next on the Police agenda.

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  22. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    This will go away. The iPhone allows hands free texting via Siri (no I don’t own one – I don’t have a cell by choice). Presumably some of the android phones do as well. I don’t see any problem with that.

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  23. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    @ TDVM

    A mate had that happen to him. He said that the problem is it becomes increasingly distracting, but imperceptibly, so that you don’t notice you are distracted until you’re heading for the cliff.

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  24. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Viking, your own reasoning is pathetic. Emergency services and police all use communications while driving without killing other road users. Managing risk is what needs to be taught rather than trying to ban all minor risks and winding up with drivers who can’t manage any risk and shouldn’t be allowed out without their nurse.

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  25. thedavincimode (6,539 comments) says:

    Tom

    What was he thinking of when he drove off the cliff?

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  26. Viking2 (11,147 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson (1,373) Says:
    November 29th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Viking, your own reasoning is pathetic. Emergency services and police all use communications while driving without killing other road users. Managing risk is what needs to be taught rather than trying to ban all minor risks and winding up with drivers who can’t manage any risk and shouldn’t be allowed out without their nurse.
    ——————–
    Well perhaps you may have noticed the number of crashed police cars and maybe you will have noticed that most police cars have radio rather than needing to hold a phone to your ear.
    You will also have noticed that fire engines and most ambulances these days have a driver and a navigator. Seldom one to a vehicle and more.
    The fact remains your RAM (random access memeory) is just like a computers. can’t do two tasks at once.

    Those that use cellphones when driving a fucking stupid bastards without brains.worse at 100kph.

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  27. Viking2 (11,147 comments) says:

    Managing risk is what needs to be taught.
    Uhuh, doesn’t work. The clip board wavers don’t know how to get people to understand they are basically fucking dumb.

    Driving at 100kph or on a busy street just ain’t minimal risk. Well not in my book. It takesalmost all of your concentration if you want to survive tonne of solid steel don’t step lightly when you challange them.

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  28. Rex Widerstrom (5,278 comments) says:

    Texting and talking are vastly different. You need your hands to steer, indicate, change gear if driving a manual and you have but two of these. Therefore unless you have good voice-to-text, which as Tom Jackson points out is becoming commonplace, texting takes at least 50% of your hand capacity, and then you’re using more of your concentration to spell words than you would to say them. Add to that the need to glance repeatedly at your screen and you’d be utterly reckless to try.

    Compare that to driving along, both hands on the wheel, looking straight out the window, having a conversation. If people cannot drive and have a hands free conversation (whether with a cellphone caller or a passenger, and I’ve yet to hear a convincing argument as to the difference) then their “RAM”, since we’re using that analogy, must be about as numerous and as fast as a ZX81. The fact is some of us came with more pre-installed.

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  29. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Viking, more pathetic reasoning. The clear evidence as well as your own argument is that there is no difference in risk between handheld and handsfree conversations. I guess you can’t walk and talk at the same time but lots of people can, just as they can drive and talk. Our brains are a lot more complex than computer memory and we have techniques for extending their capabilities beyond what might seem to be physically possible – as can be seen in most top class sports.

    Using a phone safely while driving is quite simple. You just need to keep conversations short, to the point and avoid times and places where there is greater risk. For example, on my trips between Russell and Auckland there are many times when, short of a cow being fired out of a cannon at me, there is no driver action necessary other than to continue straight ahead.

    Those who can’t figure out where and when it is safe to do what are the stupid ones, and shouldn’t be on the road. Happily, they usually kill themselves fairly quickly anyway or hardly drive at all. That doesn’t seem to stop them having silly opinions about safety.

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  30. Viking2 (11,147 comments) says:

    No where do I refer to hands free but seeing as you raise it they still require your working brains to concentrate on an active memory. While Rex considers his RAM to be super intellect it just aint so or he would be a super hero of some sort.
    Its all about wires, connections, routing etc.

    Next time you are busy yaking and a 44 tonner comes your way a bit on the wrong side or something like that, call me from your hospital bed if you survive. And I might point out that at 100 kph and 90 kph in a closing situation thats 190 kph that you are negotiating. Roughly 52 meters per second. Lot of ground if you are distracted.

    Super drivers eh.
    Yeh right.

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  31. HB (288 comments) says:

    Well, as police have been instructed to reduce arrests by 13% (no doubt so JK and National can say ‘look! crime has reduced under our government – aren’t we clever!) it has freed up time for the police to gather revenue.

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  32. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Viking, I guess I’ve driven further for longer than most. In that time I’ve seen two prominent TV virtuous haranguers for road safety get themselves killed on the road. I’m pretty sure it will be you that the 44 tonner wipes out rather than me.

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