The Herald joins the campaign to ban cellphone use in cars. Never mind there are many more dangerous distractions when driving, this one is flavour of the month.
People have got excited that Vodafone and Telecom have said they support such a ban. This is not quite correct. They only want non-hands free use banned. This would not actually lead to a revenue drop for them, but a revenue gain as hundreds of thousands would have to buy a hands free kit.
And research has tended to show that cellphone use is almost equally distracting, whether or not it is hands free or not. So such a ban would be a claytons response.
The Herald says:
For the purposes of impact and clarity, there must be a ban. Education programmes go only so far.
But where is the evidence for this assertion. Has MOT ever run an education programme on cellphone use in cars? Would a rational response to the issue not be to first run an education programme, and only if it fails, then consider a ban?
So why not have a MOT road safety advertising campaign on the dangers of cellphone use (or even on wider distractions) in cars, and how to mitigate these. Points could be:
- Keep calls as short as possible – the longer they are, the more risk you incur
- Judge the conditions – avoid any phone use in sub-optimal conditions such as congested roads, bad weather etc.
- Never ever text while moving
- Pull over to dial someone
- Always get a passenger to answer your phone for you, if you are not driving alone
Justification for a ban often cites many other countries have done it. But has it had any effect? Are there stats showing a decline in accidents due to cellphone use? Or has it just resulted in thousands more tickets?Tags: cellphone use in cars, MOT, NZ Herald