Don’t use your phone, but you’re allowed to use your car nav system

Look, I get it – “texting” while driving isn’t smartJust like shaving or putting on make-up.  

Drivers using mobile phones and other devices while behind the wheel will be the target of a national police operation from Monday.

The operation will target driver distraction – including putting on make-up, shaving and reading.

The deadly habit contributed to 12 per cent of crashes in New Zealand last year, despite it being made illegal in 2009, police said in a statement.

National Manager Road Policing Superintendent Steve Greally said officers were noticing a rise in the use of phones, tablets and iPods.

“Given that the law has been in place for more than five years now, there really is no excuse for drivers to keep offending,” he said.

Ministry of Transport data showed that last year ‘diverted attention’ contributed to 1053 crashes – or 12 per cent of all crashes.

In those, 22 people were killed and 191 were serious injured.

 

But the car is full of dials, knobs and levers that require operating, and they aren’t – in and of themselves – a distraction nor a danger.   

A phone in a cradle acting as a navigation device is no different to a dedicated navigation device.   

A phone in a cradle acting as a music player is no different to a dedicated stereo/cd player.  

The singling out of a “phone” for “texting” ignores the fact that phones have become multi-pupose tools, some of which even improve driver safety, such as nav software telling you what lane to be in, or to take a different route to avoid congestion.   

This is, was and remains an absurd area for police to focus on.  “‘Diverted attention’ contributed to 1053 crashes – or 12 per cent of all crashes’ – and how many were due to phones?   

And this is what percentage of actual phone use?   0.01%?   

By all means, promote that drivers should be aware of distracting themselves, but can we stop blaming cell phones?

 

– ODT


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