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Thread: Drivers go hands-free as phone ban looms

  1. #1
    MotherBear's Avatar
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    Default Drivers go hands-free as phone ban looms

    Drivers go hands-free as phone ban looms
    Page 1 of 2 ..... 4:00AM Wednesday Oct 28, 2009
    By Michael Dickison

    New Zealanders are choosing hands-free options to keep talking while driving as a ban on cellphone use nears.

    From Sunday, using cellphones while behind the wheel can be penalised unless a hands-free device is used, even while stopped at a red light.

    Drivers may not hold or use a phone unless it is in a fixed cradle.

    This extends to uses other than making calls, such as listening to music or using a satellite navigation system, although portable music players and devices without a phone function are exempt from the new law.

    More here.
    Mother Bear

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  2. #2
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    Police get ready for cellphone excuses
    By KERRY WILLIAMSON - The Dominion Post
    Last updated 05:00 31/10/2009

    Most drivers will get only one chance under the cellphone ban that kicks in tomorrow and police are already prepared for a wave of excuses.

    From midnight tonight, motorists are banned from using hand-held cellphones to make or receive calls or texts. While police have been told to use their discretion, drivers will get just one caution, if any.

    First offences will be flagged on a database, and a second transgression will spark an $80 fine and 20 demerit points.

    Police national road safety manager Superintendent Paula Rose said she expected the first tickets to be written tomorrow morning, despite instructions to police to go easy for the first few weeks.

    "If someone is texting away and their driving is affected, it will be extraordinarily unlikely the officer won't take action," she said.

    "They will make a decision at the time and, if the circumstances warrant it, absolutely they will write a notice. It's not a given that a warning will be given."

    Ms Rose said police were prepared for a range of excuses from motorists caught out by the new ban. "To be perfectly blunt, our officers deal with people who try to pull the wool over their eyes quite regularly," she said.

    "Our officers are quite skilled at collecting the right information, seeing the holes in people's stories and acting appropriately."

    The new law bans drivers from using cellphones unless they are secured in a mounting cradle, or if they have hands-free kits.

    Drivers can still dial numbers on their phones as long as they do it "infrequently and briefly".

    The ban brings New Zealand into line with many other countries, including Australia, Japan, most of Europe, and parts of Canada and the United States.

    However, critics say it does not go far enough, pointing to research showing that a hands-free kit while driving is just as risky as using a hand-held cellphone.

    A study by researchers at the Sydney-based George Institute for International Health found that driving with a hand-held cellphone increased the risk of a crash four-fold; a hands-free kit increased the risk by 3.8 times.

    Senior researcher Mark Stevenson said the ban "in essence is falling short. This piece of legislation is really just a signal to drivers that using a mobile phone is dangerous".

    Transport Minister Steven Joyce said a total ban could be considered in the future, but was not a priority.

    A complete ban would hurt small businesses that relied on communicating while on the road. "Never say never, but I think there are other priorities."

    From here.
    Mother Bear

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    Debate continues as cellphone law comes into effect
    4:00AM Sunday Nov 01, 2009
    By Alistair Gray

    Holding your cellphone while driving is now banned - but debate is still raging over whether the new law will reduce the accident rate.

    As of 12am today, motorists face an $80 fine and 20 demerit points for answering phone calls, holding a phone to your ear, talking or texting - even while stopped at a red light or in gridlock.

    Criminal defence lawyer and self-proclaimed "professional excuse maker" Karen Harding, who specialises in helping people facing driving charges, said the new law would not prevent accidents.

    The new law allows drivers to use hands-free kits and phone cradles while driving.

    Harding recently represented a man who crashed into a parked car while reaching for his hands-free kit to answer a call.

    More here.
    Mother Bear

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    Default about time too

    sorry, but I have seen some of the worst driving in the world in NZ.
    This is a huge step forward and about time.


    If it saves one life its worth it..

    Mind you I did see a police lady driving past the shop this week with a coffee cup in hand, so maybe coffee cups are next...

    And she didnt buy it from me...

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