For years the government has fought to keep cellphones away from drivers, but now it wants to put mobiles back into motoring.
The government will review transport law this year with an eye to ensuring drivers can use smartphones to access safety information.
The aim is to make driving safer, but in reality it could be like letting addicts have their favourite drug within easy reach, a road safety group says.
So whichever group is talking hysterically like that we can ignore.
Ministry of Transport spokeswoman Fran Lovell said the smartphone initiative was one of four “key actions” to cut deaths and serious injuries.
“Smartphones have the ability to interact with the driver without the driver having to physically operate them.
“For example, they can give audible feedback to prompt safer speed or correct lane use.”
She said the transport agencies believed smartphones were the best way to give real-time safety information to road users.
I use Google Maps all the time when driving. It advises me the fastest route and how to avoid congestion. It also indicates where traffic is slow.
Caroline Perry, director for road safety charity Brake, said phones should be switched off, or on silent and completely out of reach.
I don’t think anyone switches their phone off when they get in the car.
The decision to embrace smartphones comes after warnings about their use from the very agencies involved in the review.
A Ministry of Transport report released last September, titled Diverted Attention, said distracted drivers – including drivers on cellphones – accounted for about 12 per cent of all crashes in 2014.
Note that they don’t say what proportion of the 12% were distracted by cellphones.