Silly cellphone rules

February 20th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Mathew Dearnaley reports at NZ Herald:

Former North Shore mayor and senior policeman George Wood says he did not realise he was breaking the law by taking a cellphone photograph while driving across the harbour bridge. …

He believed he would have been within the law had he used a standard camera, which would have been harder to operate while driving.

He is correct. Absolutely legal to take a photo on a camera, just not on a cellphone.

This shows the stupidity of a law that targets just one sort of device  mobile phones. The law should focus on all distractions, not just scapegoat cellphones.

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21 Responses to “Silly cellphone rules”

  1. Left Right and Centre (2,994 comments) says:

    I see people talking on their non-hands free ordinary cellphones all the time.

    It’s one of those laws lots of people just ignore. What are the cops going to do about it?

    It’s an ignore law!! An ignalaw. Iglaw?

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  2. mikemikemikemike (331 comments) says:

    I think you are wrong, while not illegal to have held a camera it would be against the law to ‘use’ the camera.

    Its obvious (to me at least) that the law was written because of the pervasiveness of mobile technology and the fact that people are always on them without regard for the environment in which they are being used.

    Focusing the law on all distractions is dumb, you simple cannot cater to every type of distraction that there is. – part of driver training needs to include how to ignore outside influence while driving as well as not trying to multi-task when driving.

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  3. MikeG (425 comments) says:

    “Absolutely legal to take a photo on a camera”

    In Farrar’s non-legal opinion. What about ‘driving without due care and attention’? I think that would apply to anyone taking a photo on whatever device.

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  4. Elaycee (4,403 comments) says:

    So what is the scenario if someone uses the GPS on their mobile? Is that also illegal? 8O

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  5. Mark (1,489 comments) says:

    Why was the idiot trying to take a photograph while driving across the harbour bridge in any event.

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  6. Virginiaas (1 comment) says:

    All cell phones have cameras, stupidity.

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  7. YesWeDid (1,050 comments) says:

    Any law needs to be clear and relatively easy to enforce, so that is why there is a law banning the use of cellphones while driving rather than some vague law about ‘distractions’.

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  8. eszett (2,426 comments) says:

    Elaycee (3,304) Says:
    February 20th, 2013 at 10:40 am
    So what is the scenario if someone uses the GPS on their mobile? Is that also illegal?

    I believe there is an exception for that, provided that there is an attachment to hold the phone.

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  9. BlairM (2,364 comments) says:

    The law should focus on all distractions, not just scapegoat cellphones.

    The law should focus on car accidents, the people who cause them, and make those people accountable for their actions. It should leave the distractions alone and go after the distracted.

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  10. Akaroa (581 comments) says:

    And what about a Tom-Tom? I’ve had one in constant use when driving for over a year now and I wouldn’t be without it when penetrating the Auckland internal suburban hinterland!!. An essential attribute, as they say!!

    And I’ve no reason to believe it’s use is illegal.

    BUT! It demands constant and repeated glances/attention, and, in that regard, is not so different – in terms of driver-distraction-from-the road-and-traffic – from a cell-phone.

    Just raising the point/fuelling the debate, is all.

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  11. Redbaiter (9,528 comments) says:

    Blair is perfectly correct. This law was a clusterfuck right from the word go.

    We have a parliament of cretins who ignore their electorate and are controlled by a pack of self serving shiny arsed bureaucrats sitting in Wellington offices.

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  12. Rick Rowling (815 comments) says:

    Is driving carelessly against the law? Or only if you crash?

    Serious question.

    If careless driving is against the law, a policy stating that cellphone use is ipso facto careless driving.

    Also, using a camera or a cellphone to take photos while driving would be the same.

    /not sure if wrong Latin phrase used.

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  13. Alan Wilkinson (1,886 comments) says:

    The law is moronic as are most lawmakers unfortunately. It should simply have banned texting. The inevitable consequences were known long before it was adopted.

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  14. Jim (398 comments) says:

    Totally agree. Moronic fustercluck of a law.

    Note to the last intelligent person to leave NZ: don’t turn out the lights. The rest of NZ won’t figure out how to turn it back on again without the necessary “enabling legislation”.

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  15. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    Police and emergency services should not be exempt for using communication devices either, now the “authorities” have established the terrible risk it presents to us.

    Given that the Police claim this is so very very dangerous, how are they allowed to yap away on their communiction devices while driving at high speed ?

    The cellphone law is a terrible bit of legistlation and only appeals to power trippers in positions of authority.

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  16. meh (165 comments) says:

    @RickRowling – yep careless driving is an offense, no accident needed. If a police officer witnesses you driving in a manner he/she deems careless, game over. It’s a very subjective offense.

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  17. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Things I’ve seen drivers doing that are arguably as distracting as using a cellphone camera:
    1. Drinking (looked to be coffee)
    2. Applying lipstick
    3. Eating with chopsticks
    4. Shaving
    5. Rolling a cigarette

    If you’ve seen others, continue the list ….

    The law already deals with the consequence of distractions that lead to poor driving. That cellphones are singled out was, is, and always be absurd.

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  18. Steve (North Shore) (4,587 comments) says:

    Eating with chopsticks?
    How about steering with the knee and eating bacon and eggs with a knife AND fork? I kid you not – yesterday morning 6.55am on the North Shore/Waitakere motorway – black Toyota Rav4

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  19. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    Is driving carelessly against the law? Or only if you crash?

    Yes, it is. Law has correlatives, where a right has a corresponding duty. The correlative duty of the common law right to use a public road is the duty of care for other road users. The legislation (for persons) relates to careless use of a motor vehicle.

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  20. pq (728 comments) says:

    krazykiwi (8,807) Says:
    February 20th, 2013 at 2:31 pm
    Things I’ve seen drivers doing that are arguably as distracting as using a cellphone camera:
    1. Drinking (looked to be coffee)
    2. Applying lipstick
    3. Eating with chopsticks
    4. Shaving
    5. Rolling a cigarette

    If you’ve seen others, continue the list ….pq

    6. writing down things you suddenly remember to your list of things to do
    7. looking at girls with legs on
    8. reaching over to passenger seat for things you need to find
    9. crashing through road stop cone barriers in Christchurch
    10. listening to some radio jock on car radio and screaming at him

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  21. Ed Snack (1,926 comments) says:

    Ex senior Policeman, throw the book at him. And what’s this “had no idea…”? Sounds like a good line but he certainly is expected to know better.

    All of which is why he will escape any prosecution or penalty as there are different rules that apply to the rulers.

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