Cell phones illegal while driving – Transport Authority wants a review

Oops, that turned out to be a bit of a backfire.

Transport authorities are re-thinking whether it’s alright to use mobile phones in cars.

A 2009 law change made it illegal to use phones behind the wheel, and police have since raked in millions of dollars in fines.

But a new transport strategy will consider whether mobile devices could actually help to make our roads safer.

The Safer Journeys Strategy is calling for a review of legislation by the end of the year to identify “unnecessary barriers” to the use of technology, including accessing road safety information safely on mobile devices in vehicles. ?

The strategy aims for increased use of emerging technology to enable smart and safe choices on the road, reduce unintended errors and increase compliance.

“More people own smartphones or other mobile devices than own a new vehicle or motorcycle. In the next five years, smartphones provide the best opportunity to provide realtime?safety information to road users,” the strategy report says.

“This assumes that smartphone applications can continue to access up-to-date and accurate data. It also assumes that a person can access relevant safety information legally and safely while driving, riding or walking (eg, through visual or audible alerts).

I stopped using a Navman or similar device ages ago. I now use my cellphone and apps like Waze and Google Maps.

More and more apps are coming to the fore now and many are useful in traffic situations.

Talking on the phone while holding it being illegal – that I get – but not being able to use the phone in any way is short-sighted. As the vehicle fleet improves, more and more people will be using Bluetooth anyway, and with decent mounting devices a phone would be no more distracting than the almost ubiquitous, but now defunct, Navman devices.


– NZ Herald