The car cellphone ban

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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