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Thread: Car cellphone ban likely this year

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    Default Car cellphone ban likely this year

    Car cellphone ban likely this year - Joyce
    10:42AM Wednesday Jul 22, 2009

    A ban on cellphone use in cars is likely by end of the year.

    Transport Minister Steven Joyce said he was still waiting on advice but that there was "every chance" a ban would be imposed this year.

    Officials were to report back to him this week.

    "I think around October this year we should hopefully have that through," Mr Joyce told Radio New Zealand.

    "I can't see an argument for texting while you drive, that seems like an absolute no-brainer from my perspective, and then handheld phones, partly because people look down, they look around while they're finding a call, that's all distracting as well."

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    Mother Bear

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    Default Exemptions to driver cellphone ban

    Exemptions to driver cellphone ban
    By TRACY WATKINS - The Dominion Post
    Last updated 05:00 27/07/2009

    Drivers will not be punished for using a mobile phone to make an emergency call under a proposed ban on cellphones while driving.

    Police officers would also be exempt, a draft of the rules shows.

    The Government is expected to confirm the ban within weeks after it received wide support during consultation by the New Zealand Transport Agency. Transport Minister Steven Joyce said yesterday that most of those who made submissions supported a ban.

    Under the proposed rule change, motorists would be allowed to use a hands-free phone kit.

    Handheld cellphones would still be allowed when people were dialling 111 or *555 for a genuine emergency and were unable to stop and park their vehicle.

    Law enforcement officers get a special exemption.

    Mr Joyce said there were submissions in favour of banning hands-free phones as well, but he did not think that was practical.

    "There's some emerging research, including some done in New Zealand, which suggests people can be distracted by talking to somebody who is not in a car with them. But it will just be too tough on people who need to be on call, or need the phone for their business."

    Mr Joyce has previously signalled a rule change is likely by October, but is still considering whether the proposed penalties are adequate.

    Under the original proposal, using a cellphone while driving would have attracted a $50 fine and 25 demerit points.

    But Mr Joyce said $50 may not be enough to act as a deterrent, and 25 demerit points may be too harsh.

    The Transport Agency has also been considering a change that would force motorcyclists to drive with their headlamps or running lights on at all times.

    Mr Joyce said he was "broadly in favour" of the proposal.

    It was in response to a significant rise in fatal motorbike crashes since 2004.

    From here.
    Mother Bear

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    Texting or talking while driving is to be made illegal
    By MATT CALMAN - The Dominion Post
    Last updated 05:00 14/08/2009

    Drivers caught texting or talking on hand-held cellphones will soon be fined $80, but campaigners say better education on the dangers is the only way to reduce road deaths.

    From November 1, drivers will not be allowed to use a hand-held cellphone or text while driving. The ban is among 23 changes to road-user rules coming into force then.

    Transport Minister Steven Joyce said hand-held cellphone use had become a significant problem.

    Between 2003 and 2008, 25 fatal accidents and nearly 500 crashes resulting in injury had been caused at least in part by cellphone use.

    Those caught breaking the rules will be fined $80 and receive 20 demerit points.

    Sisters Lucy, 18, and Isabelle Simon, 15, died in a crash near Levin two years ago after Lucy, the driver, lost control while answering a text.

    Their mother, Anne McCabe, welcomed the ban but said education programmes to change attitudes were vital to its success. "You've just got to keep banging away and hope like hell something gets through.

    "My daughter was a great driver and a fantastic texter and she could do all those things at the same time, but guess what? You can't."

    The Government backed off banning use of hands-free cellphones and two-way radios, largely to protect the livelihoods of business and tradespeople.

    Wellington road policing boss Richard Hocken said everyone seen breaking the law would be ticketed.

    Police National Headquarters spokesman Grant Ogilvie said in theory the enforcement could extend to drivers seen using a cellphone in speed camera photos. "In practice, all I can say is it's all totally dependent on there being a clear enough picture."

    TOP 10 CHANGES

    * Talking on a hand-held cellphone or texting while driving will be banned.

    * Mobility scooter riders and users of wheeled recreational devices will have the same obligations as pedestrians to observe crossing rules, and also the same rights.

    * Moped riders and motorcyclists will have to turn on their headlights during the day.

    * Drivers will have to give way to pedestrians who are obviously waiting to cross at a pedestrian crossing. Currently, drivers are required only to give way to pedestrians who are on a pedestrian crossing.

    * Customs and fisheries officers to have blue beacons on vehicles to "clearly demonstrate their authority" to pull drivers over.

    * Cyclists will be able to make a safer "hook turn" when turning right at busy intersections.

    * Delivery people will be allowed to ride mopeds or motorcycles on the footpath to pop items in letterboxes but no faster than 10kmh.
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    * The maximum speed for towing a vehicle with a non-rigid towing connection (such as a tow rope) will be 50kmh.

    * Seatbelts will not only have to be "securely fastened" but put on properly also.

    * Rules will be clarified for the use of shared pedestrian/cycle paths. All users will have to use the paths in a way that does not present a hazard to others. Where signs or markings give priority to either pedestrians or cyclists, users without priority must give way.

    ON THE BUSES

    It sounds ridiculous, but soon buses will be legally allowed to stop at bus stops.

    And, yes, you read that correctly.

    For the past five years, a badly worded road rule has made it illegal for buses to stop at bus stops. Fortunately, it was never enforced.

    The new rule makes buses exempt, letting common sense reign.

    From here.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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    Cellphone ban gets cold shoulder
    By ROB MAETZIG - Taranaki Daily News
    Last updated 05:00 17/08/2009

    New Zealand roads often aren't wide enough to allow motorists to safely pull over and use their cellphones, says the Road Transport Association.

    Regional spokesman Tom Cloke said many of his members had expressed concern that vehicles parked on road shoulders would cause crashes.

    "The road shoulders either aren't there or are not wide enough. This means other motorists will have to veer out towards the centre of the roads to get past the parked vehicles and that's how head-on crashes will happen."

    The concern comes in the wake of last week's Government announcement that from November it will become illegal to use a hand-held cellphone while driving. Anyone caught doing so will be fined $80 and 20 demerit points.

    Mr Cloke said the RTA supported the initiative.

    "But we do need to point our that our drivers are worried that there isn't the infrastructure there to allow that to happen. There aren't the road shoulders there.

    "Perhaps this is something the officials need to urgently look at."

    From here.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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