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For New Zealanders, No More Phones As Sat-Nav Devices

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the fine-distinctions dept.

Cellphones 364

rixth writes "From the 1st of November, it will be illegal to use cell phones while driving in New Zealand. Today, the Government clarified that you can't use your mobile phone as a navigational device, even if it is mounted on the dash board."

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What a BAAAAAAAAAD decision (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563119)

Baaaaaah.

Hands-free is allowed (3, Informative)

Walking The Walk (1003312) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563125)

Not sure what all the fuss is about, as you will be allowed to use your mobile phone via a hands-free kit. So as long as your phone does navigation over the hands-free, it's fine to use.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1)

emj (15659) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563175)

How are you supposed to use navigation with touch screen over hands-free? If you can't touch the phone then you shouldn't be able to touch the navigation device. Please enligthen us the article is pretty light on details.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (3, Informative)

Walking The Walk (1003312) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563199)

Lots of the hands-free kits respond to voice commands. That's the point - otherwise how would you dial, answer, etc? I assume they would do the same for navigation. I'm sure there's a voice-driven navigation app for the iPhone. (If you know for sure there isn't, let me know, I'll invest in a local team to build one. Sure to be a money maker.)

Re:Hands-free is allowed (5, Insightful)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563223)

As you should do it in all cases - park your car, enter the destination, wait for the route calculation, go on driving.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563249)

As you should do it in all cases hire a Mexican to enter the destination while driving.

Fixed

Re:Hands-free is allowed (4, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563299)

As you should do it in all cases hire a Mexican to enter the destination while driving.

Fixed

Thats going to be expensive in NZ. How about somebody from Norfolk Island?

Re:Hands-free is allowed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563379)

Thats going to be expensive in NZ. How about somebody from Auckland?

Fixed

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563881)

As you should do it in all cases hire a Mexican to enter the destination while driving.

Fixed

Sorry sir, we only hire Mexicans to sit in the back and sing songs. In general, we prefer a pretty blond girl for navigation tasks.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (2, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563455)

Most sat navs now have a feature that disables the interface if the car is moving. A quick Google search will turn up many forum posts describing how to disable this feature, on the grounds that it prevents a passenger from operating it too.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1)

Jared555 (874152) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563529)

Is this a feature that is controlled by the speed as detected by the GPS or just what has been in cars for quite some time that is tied into the car itself (detecting what gear a car is in or using existing equipment to detect speed)

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563819)

Most sat navs now have a feature that disables the interface if the car is moving. A quick Google search will turn up many forum posts describing how to disable this feature, on the grounds that it prevents a passenger from operating it too.

Being in control of your whole car is considered a good thing, even while driving. I was told people who have a driver's licence are qualified to operate a car.

Bzzz no, you can't even look at the mobilphone. (2, Informative)

emj (15659) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563591)

From the article "The restriction does not apply to navigation systems that do not have a mobile phone function" So they have a problem with mobile devices according to the article.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1, Insightful)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563667)

In Australia I can use my gps while driving and it's perfectly legal but I cannot hold a phone to my ear.
Where's the logic in that.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563759)

In Australia I can use my gps while driving and it's perfectly legal but I cannot hold a phone to my ear.
Where's the logic in that.

Do you hold the GPS to you ear?

Re:Hands-free is allowed (2, Informative)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563765)

but I cannot hold a phone to my ear.

because : http://www.livescience.com/technology/050201_cell_danger.html [livescience.com] "cell phone distraction causes 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries in the United States every year, according to the journal's publisher, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society."

Re:Hands-free is allowed (0)

DarKnyht (671407) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563909)

So the article states that people on cell phones have a worse reaction time, but they also tend to drive slower and further away from people because of it. Or in other words, most people on cell phones are intelligent enough to realize they are not driving under perfect conditions and react accordingly.

I would also be interested to see how many deaths and injuries are related to trying to eat, read a book (I've seen it), find and change a CD, change clothes, put on makeup, or any other the millions of other distractions that happen to people behind the wheel. But instead we have witch-hunts on something because it is the popular thing to do.

When I am forced to talk on the phone and drive, guess what the phone is secondary to driving. If need to focus exclusively on driving, I tell the caller to shut up or I hang up the phone. This is even when i use the bluetooth earpiece, and it is the same treatment the radio gets when the weather is bad. It's a matter of priorities.

The fact is people do stupid things and outlawing something isn't going to stop stupid drivers, they will just find another way to be stupid.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563959)

I have seen people shave or read the newspaper while driving...

Cross-continental accidents (4, Funny)

aclarke (307017) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563945)

So, GP. It's pretty clear that if you hold your phone to your ear while driving in Australia, you could cause a death or injury in the United States.

If that's not a reason to abstain, I don't know what is.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563829)

You cannot use your phone's gps [theage.com.au] , the logical distintion between legal and illegal is the definition of "hand free".

Re:Hands-free is allowed (4, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563835)

Holding a phone to your ear not only ties up a hand, but also probably means you're having a conversation.

A sat nav, on the other hand, is designed so that you don't have to touch it once it's set up. Its voice instructions are designed so you don't usually have to even look at it. If you do have to look at it, it's designed so that a glance is sufficient.

What's more, many people's alternative to a sat nav is to refer to a paper map while driving. That's obviously more of a distraction.

BTW - Studies have shown that having a phone conversation is more distracting than having a conversation with a passenger. Something to do with passengers knowing when to give you space to concentrate on a road hazard. Do your own Googling.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563933)

A sat nav, on the other hand, is designed so that you don't have to touch it once it's set up. Its voice instructions are designed so you don't usually have to even look at it. If you do have to look at it, it's designed so that a glance is sufficient.

What's more, many people's alternative to a sat nav is to refer to a paper map while driving.

Not only that, but you can concentrate on the road instead of the highway signs looking where you are going, as well as not having to squint for the random road sign, or when you are close to your destination, looking at house numbers. Less miles driven due to being lost as well, as well as a lot less anxiety in a new place - I would say sat navigation makes the road safer overall.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1)

Rue C Koegel (1448549) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563939)

yeah, and getting the thing to repeat a direction, or silencing it isn't any different on my app then changing a radio station on the stereo. plus having it right next to the steering wheel allows me to glance at details like 'miles to next turn' without taking my eyes off the road any longer than it does to check the fuel gauge.

good luck passing NO NAV laws in the USA. we have hands-free laws all over the country, but no NO NAV laws that i know of, and for good reason if u ask me.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (2, Insightful)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563233)

The answer is you shouldn't be using adjusting navigation devices with a touch screen whilst driving. It's an unnecessary distraction, and requires your total attention because there's no tactile feedback. If you need to adjust your GPS device, pull over, it's that simple. No need to risk your life and the lives of others.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (2, Insightful)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563399)

The the same should apply for tape/cd players, mp3 players, and radios.
Why stop at just phones and gps devices?

It doesn't just stop at electronics - eg food (1)

N Monkey (313423) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563443)

The the same should apply for tape/cd players, mp3 players, and radios.
Why stop at just phones and gps devices?

It doesn't even stop there. You could be fined (at least in the UK) for not having both hands on the wheel because you were eating an apple while driving [timesonline.co.uk]

Re:It doesn't just stop at electronics - eg food (3, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563607)

Legally that's correct - you must have both hands on the wheel otherwise legally you're not in control of the car. I presume there are exceptions for changing gear..

In this case the key phrase is "she negotiated a left turn with an apple in her right hand". She wasn't just driving - she was trying to turn with one hand on the wheel. The was then issued a fixed penalty notice for what would normally be considered a minor breach of the law - she refused that remedy, demanding a court appearence - hence the cost to defend the case.

Re:It doesn't just stop at electronics - eg food (2, Funny)

noisyinstrument (1624451) | more than 4 years ago | (#29564025)

so is that a defense if you drive through a kindergarten?

you know, i didn't have both hands on the wheel honest ... out of curiosity i mean...

*shifty eyes*

Re:Hands-free is allowed (2, Insightful)

Jared555 (874152) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563539)

One major difference between operating a radio and operating a touchscreen based GPS device is you don't necessarily have to even look at the radio to change stations, etc.

It is much more difficult to operate a touchscreen without looking at it. Also, many newer cars have radio controls attached to the steering wheel so you don't even have to remove your hand from the wheel.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563689)

Also, all streetside advertisements, such as billboards and business signs, need to be banned as well - if you're reading the latest clever Geico billboard, you're not watching the road. Also, passengers should be kept in the trunk or tied up on the floor in the back seat, so as not to cause a distraction.

Or, we could be smart about it, and just double the punishment if you cause an accident because you were operating a mobile device/changing radio stations/staring off into space. Hard to prove, but a better solution than trying to outlaw every possible distraction.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563995)

if you're talking about in-car devices, it's because these items are designed to have a certain tactile feel that is constant (it's not moving around in the dash board, the buttons perform the same functions, and are always in the same place). They are designed to be operated without having to be viewed. When it comes to hand held devices, at best you only have to find the device, at worst, there's no feedback to help you use the device without looking at it. For instance, please tell me how easy it is to find a song on an ipod without looking at the screen.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563993)

I am still waiting for my heads-up-display [bmw.com] GPS unit.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1)

Rue C Koegel (1448549) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563929)

once u program in the directions u don't have to touch my nav app, so do it before u drive... and if u want a detour later u can get off the road before changing the settings. in any case, as long as u know ur phone u can do basic stuff without looking, so it's no different then changing the radio station or changing CDs; are those things illegal in NZ?

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1)

Walking The Walk (1003312) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563187)

This has been in discussion since at least June 2008 [beehive.govt.nz] . And here's a nice link to the federal government's announcement in August [beehive.govt.nz] , which clearly states that hands-free and two-way radios are exempt. Cheap hands-free kits are about $30 NZD, and my crappy $130 NZD phone even came with one.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1)

sweetnavelorange (1192975) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563415)

Since when has New Zealand been a federation?

RTFA (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563521)

No, it's not allowed.

You can use your hands-free phone to make phone calls. You are not allowed to use it for naviation.

You can also use a dedicated GPS unit, as long as you can't make phone calls with it.

Presumably, you can use both in the same car at the same time, but they must be separate devices.

(That law must be sponsored by Garmin and Tom Tom.)

Re:RTFA (1)

hawk16zz (960734) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563639)

(That law must be sponsored by Garmin and Tom Tom.)

Except for the fact that they both have windows mobile applications and Tom Tom also has an iPhone app, and a Garmin one is to be released soon.

Then just in general:
The only things this does is a) hurt the consumer buy having them pay more to have a separate navigation system and b) the cell phone companies and manufactures that sell the smartphones some people won't be buying because they can't also navigate on it.

If something like this ever came to the states, I'm sure there would be a huge uprising. I use my smartphone to get traffic information and if I need to go someone I usually don't travel to like most GPS users.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563587)

Not sure what all the fuss is about, as you will be allowed to use your mobile phone via a hands-free kit. So as long as your phone does navigation over the hands-free, it's fine to use.

I lived in NZ for awhile. They have one of the highest road death rates in the first world. Because of it they have really strict drinking and driving limits and I'm sure this is rated to toning down road deaths. People tend to drive normally in town but I noticed when they hit the city limits they tended to floor it which is a big factor in road deaths. The laws are pretty strictly enforced so it probably will save lives.

Re:Hands-free is allowed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563967)

This decision is related to the 2009 edition of the Australian Road Rules ( NZ participates in the discussion that forms these and generally conforms to them ). These rules are at an Australian Federal Government level, and states generally enact them as law ( compliance is linked to federal government road funding ).

These rules are available for download here : http://www.ntc.gov.au/ViewPage.aspx?documentid=00794

Rule 299 and 300 relate to equipment with displays, and phones for use in vehicles.

"Normal" GPS units are covered under 299, and Phones, under the more restrictive 300. Rule 300 specifically bans use of all mobile phone features other than hands free calling. Other things that it makes illegal is phones in a car that display the detail of an email or SMS on their screen - ie anything other than a notification that a message has been received. Even calling/receiving calls is not allowed if the user needs to touch the phone.

Several Australian states are in the process of implementing these to the full extent of their current stupidity/luddite tendencies ( which are notably worse in the 2009 version versus the 2008 version )

( 299 effectively bans GPS use on motorcycles, which if you've ever used one, has a tremendous positive effect on safety - moving your head looking for a cross street name on a motorbike is borderline lethal )

The interesting thing in the stupidity of it all, is a hands free phone is just as dangerous from a driver distraction standpoint as one without : see http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2008/12/for-drivers-passenger-and-phone-conversations-arent-equal.ars
By contrast, the navigation function is not.

When a GPS is a phone and when a phone is a gps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563131)

What if the phone is offline? Is doesn't differ from "normal" navigator then.

This will be amended (1)

CuriousTechie (1586855) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563135)

They are going to implant an exception to the rules for mobile devices with certain restrictions (how much interaction is allowed...)

What's the deal with all these features? (-1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563147)

Take a look at the iPhone, as an example. It does so many things so well that people are wont to call it a computer rather than a phone. And for good reason, too. The phone function sucks.

Why can't I get a phone that is just a really good phone without satnav, gyroscopic direction finders, accelerometers, and a million other features that I could just as well get on my laptop?

Re:What's the deal with all these features? (5, Insightful)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563193)

you can, only its going to cost you $30 instead of $300.

Re:What's the deal with all these features? (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563337)

I just replaced just such a phone with an iPhone at ten times the prices. Yes, the iPhone signal/reception is weak. Only borderline acceptable. Thing is the old cheapie had lousy software. But the other features of the iPhone are too useful to me. I wouldn't want to go back.

Bad decision? Is it? (3, Interesting)

tonycheese (921278) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563149)

At first glance I thought this was a terrible decision. Clearly, the government just rushed a response to whether it would be illegal to use cell phones as navigational devices. But actually, it might make sense. The article says you can still use your phone to make phone calls, just nothing else. It gave an example of someone rear-ending another car while using a cell phone in a cradle as a navigational device. A cell phone usually would have a much smaller screen than a regular GPS device, since it is designed as a cell phone and not as a GPS system. This might lead to longer times spent glancing at the screen and higher chances of accidents happening.

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (5, Insightful)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563221)

No, it's a dumb decison. Take the most popular smartphone - the iPhone. I have one running Tomtom Navigator, and I also have a standalone Tomtom 720. They're pretty much identical: approximately the same size screen, no hardware buttons - just touchscreen, with the same interface. Why should they be treated differently? My old WinMo handsets running Tomtom were much the same: same interface, same operation.

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563251)

A similar law is on the way in Victoria, Australia. I believe the reasoning is that they want to totally ban people hand operating phones while driving. Using the phone as a GPS gives drivers a way around the law. The Government is trying to close this loophole.

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563367)

But if the iPhone is so dangerous, why not also ban the TomTom?

I use a GPS navigator. I hate the iPhone (I instead got a cheapo mobile phone this year for a mere $60. It makes calls, it takes calls. That's all I need or wanted). But the interface is functionally identical. If one is dangerous, then so is the other.

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563451)

Phones are more dangerous because people want to touch them all the time. In practice, people just buy and forget their GPS. Cycle commuting in Melbourne I have seen many people (car drivers and bicycle riders. Motorbike riders seem to have more sense) driving their vehicle with a phone stuck to their ear.

What we need to do is find a way to book people for this kind of dangerous behaviour. Its easy with alcohol because the stuff lingers in your system. Get caught at a booze bus and you are booked. The phone network could be used to flag drivers who talk while driving. The law would have to be pretty aggressive and creative though.

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (5, Insightful)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563485)

There are already (I'm in the UK) laws against driving without due care and attention. They passed a law to specifically cover sending text messages, and generally touching your phone at all (i.e. a bluetooth headset is OK, but hand-dialling isn't) which you can kind of understand, but what's next? Passing a law making it illegal to eat an apple whilst driving? To tune your car radio?
The point is there are a large number of activities that are a Bad Idea whilst driving, including talking to passengers. You don't need a law for each and every one.

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563555)

There are already (I'm in the UK) laws against driving without due care and attention.

If it was as simple as that you would only need that one law. In practice the task of interpreting behaviour can't be left entirely to the police and the courts, so laws have to be specific.

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563833)

If it was as simple as that you would only need that one law.

Not in the uK - The present government would nver consider passing one law when 10 would do. Preferably 20, all so badly worded that nobody knows what they mean, and several government ministers accidentally contravene them, often the very ministers that drafted them.

Yes, the very symptoms of "lunatics in charge of the asylum" - brought to you by the government that believes Orwell's 1984 is its manifesto.

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563701)

At the end of the day, some people are just shit drivers. Allot of the people who crash while talking on the phone are shithouse drivers to start with. The phone just pushes the envelope that little bit further.

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563487)

Motorbike riders seem to have more sense

Try using a phone with a motorbike helmet on.

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563717)

You can get headsets built into motorcycle helmets. You can also still text on a bike, although I wouldn't recommend it.

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (1)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563269)

Here's the difference: with the iPhone you could glance at your screen, and notice you have an unread email. Some proportion of people will be tempted enough to attempt to read it.

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (2, Interesting)

seifried (12921) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563339)

That's already illegal in most places, it's called driving with undue care and attention (or whatever your local phrase is).

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (1)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563471)

Someone always makes that argument on these discussions. The reason for a specific law is that there can be no argument over whether the person was driving while distracted. If you are using your phone, you can be prosecuted, without any defence (other than arguing you weren't actually using your phone).

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (1)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563441)

But tether your phone to your tomtom with bluetooth and it will let you read and write text messages, so it's not really that different.

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563475)

unless it's an iPhone, which doesn't support this!

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563715)

Question: If you put your iPhone into Flight Mode - is it still a mobile phone in the eyes of the law?

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563843)

It's still a mobile phone - even if you switch it off!

Re:Bad decision? Is it? (1)

yacc143 (975862) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563669)

Worse, how do you decide what it is a mobile and what is a satnav?

Modern satnav devices are getting embedded mobiles so they can get map updates and other stuff.

So what happens if a satnav device allows the user to be used as phone?

What if you deactivate the mobile part? Does it need to be removed physically? What if you start using your laptop for navigation?

What about Maemo devices that are basically Internet panels, but which in their newest iteration (the N900) have got an mobile part embedded?

It's funny how people are trying to divide a field that is strongly converging. Plus my G1, has clearly a more userfriendly and easier to use interface than say the satnav embedded in my Audi. But nobody is writting explicit laws forbidding the use of these, right?

from TFA... (4, Insightful)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563173)

" 2 degrees chief executive Eric Hertz admitted rear-ending another vehicle at an intersection in Auckland a few weeks ago while glancing at directions on his iPhone, which was mounted on a hands-free kit in his car. Under the new law, that would be illegal"

If the law takes that tact then It makes me wonder how children being taken to school rates on the distract-o-meter.

As little johnny stabs his sister with a blunt pencil, I would presume it to be less so than an iPhone on the dashboard.

But yes, it would be political suicide to go near that hot potato.

Re:from TFA... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563231)

And yet our wonderful NZ government has. It's called the anti smacking law. Should your off springs misbehave, they're well within their rights knowing that their parents may not discipline them by smacking, just shouting loudly and glaring at them while driving.
If you smack your child, the police is legally obliged to put you in jail and take your children away to child services. You'll then be taken to court and have a criminal record on par with criminal assault.
It's better to take your chances with traffic...

Still as our PM said on the late show, we love to have you all here. Just no chatting on your mobile while you drive ok ^_^b

Re:from TFA... (2, Insightful)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563265)

Just because kids can cause a distraction in the car, doesn't mean that other distractions can't be eliminated. Clearly, you can't ban people transporting children, and I'd wager that far more people are distracted by their phone/GPS device in the car than are distracted by their children. And children screaming in the back of the car is far less distracting than focusing all your attention on your iPhone's touchscreen. Especially when you consider kids can be made to shut up if they get too noisy (the threat of pulling over usually worked on me and my sister).

Re:from TFA... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563287)

There is a small correlation [theage.com.au] between handling a phone correctly, and continuing to be a parent,

Re:from TFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563873)

No, the problem here is that some very noisy people don't like cell phones and they do everything they can to make sure that their likes and dislikes get put into laws everywhere. There are dumb drivers all over the place, and what they do is as soon as they see one their eyes go right to the driver's ear. If there's no phone there they forget about it. If there is one, it goes on their mental checklist and they never forget about the incident--ever, because it fits their preconcieved notions. Some people's brains just work like that, unfortunately.

If cell phones cause serious death and injuries, then death and injuries must be up since cell phones became popular. Guess what? No such evidence.

In some traffic conditions, talking on a phone or doing anything at all other than driving is dangerous. Some people are too stupid to recognize those situations. This won't help them, though, because they'll find something else.

What you will get, though, is an increased number of nervous drivers because they're late, can't tell someone, etc. and also, perhaps, an increase in accidents due to people pulling out of traffic and back in again, which of course actually is more dangerous than cruising along at an established speed. You might even get a study showing this, but it won't do anything to make people repeal these stupid laws because by then the mindset will have set in.

BTW, all distractions are not equal to all people. Children are far, far more distracting to me than cell phones are. Children are also capable of taking actual physical action inside a vehicle to cause issues as well. By what exact reasoning do you say that you can't ban people transporting children, anyway? If they cause accidents, and nobody dares study it, they we should require all people transporting children to have a second adult in the car to take care of the children. Stupid? No more than this kind of stuff.

Re:from TFA... (2, Informative)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563913)

I drove 8 hours yesterday with a 1.3 year old. Trust me, it is almost impossible to eliminate child distractions. If you don't have kids yourself you won't understand.

I agree with the GP here. Sure, they can make looking at maps illegal, or texting while driving punishable like drunk driving, but they aren't addressing all the possible ways to being distracted. What about reading a paper while driving. A friend of mine got rearended by a man doing that. Or a woman putting on makeup while driving? [theinsider.com] Or a man shaving while driving? [youtube.com] Or driving a dangerously modified vehicle? [dailymail.co.uk] Or someone eating while driving? [nydailynews.com]

There are simply too many ways to get distracted while driving to eliminate them all with laws. The bottom line is that driving is boring and a waste of time, and we do far too much of it. We should focus instead on better safety systems, and eventually computer controlled cars.

Re:from TFA... (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563361)

I guess it varies from person to person, but I have driven while talking on a hands free cell phone, driven while having technical discussions with coworkers, driven with a wife who loves to talk, and driven with 4 tired grumpy kids who just wouldn't leave each other alone. The grumpy kids ranks below all the other things on my distract-o-meter.

You can easily tune out to grumpy kids stabbing each other with pointy things, and if it gets to the point that you can't tune it out then it's probably worth pulling over anyway before one of them requires medical attention. And you can tune it out because you want to tune it out. If you are tuning out the cell phone conversation then why are you on the phone in the first place?

Personally, I think a movement sensor should automatically lock the keypad on your phone as soon as it detects that you are moving over a certain speed. Add a simple (but slightly tedious) override to use when you are on a train or bus or are a passenger or something and make sure that the override broadcasts something to the network with the call. The idea of the latter is to make it easier to record a conviction against all those fucktards with a phone stuck to their ear driving at 110kph down the freeway. Failing that, make it legal for me to be able to shoot out their tyres :)

Re:from TFA... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563617)

Laws here in Victoria, Australia invalidate the insurance which covers a drivers vehicle if the driver is found to be over the limit for alcohol. More than anything else this makes people think twice about drinking and driving. A similar thing could be done with phones. Police would get information on phone ownership from the networks. If a phone is found they would go back for evidence the phone was on a call, in the area of the crash, and moving at the time. If evidence is found then you own up (and lose your insurance) or see you in court (then lose your insurance).

Re:from TFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563383)

Coincidently, there was an article about driver distractions and accidents on the BBC yesterday:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8277436.stm

They found that unruly children in the car was the most frequent cause of accidents.

Re:from TFA... (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563411)

" 2 degrees chief executive Eric Hertz admitted rear-ending another vehicle at an intersection in Auckland a few weeks ago while glancing at directions on his iPhone, which was mounted on a hands-free kit in his car. Under the new law, that would be illegal"

Well, if Mr Hertz managed to rear-end another vehicles while "glancing" at the GPS on his phone, it's highly likely that Mr Hertz was going to read-end another vehicle anyway, at some point. If a "glance" at a GPS results in you have an accident, you were already driving recklessly.

Re:from TFA... (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563477)

It makes me wonder how children being taken to school rates on the distract-o-meter.

CERTAIN DEATH! [bbc.co.uk]

Re:from TFA... (1)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#29564019)

Thats a timely article....placing kids in the car as the first equal cause of accidents.

I do not have kids, and this seems to invalidate my opinions especially to parents. But I have seen, with my own eyes, a driver(presumably the parent) turn around, reach back to the back seat, and take an item from the kid in the back seat.

Re:from TFA... (1)

Johan Welin (1387129) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563557)

What's with the New Zealanders, the brits and aussies? How can you agree upon suppression act one after another being implied on you? Soon there will be no freedom left, and the entire populations being locked-in, controlled and completely managed like pets.. A very sad ending to some once being great nations.

Re:from TFA... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563699)

I want to have the freedom to ride my bicycle to work without getting killed by a driver on the phone.

Re:from TFA... (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29564043)

This was the AA argument against this law when i was in NZ last (3 years ago). It was that yes cell phones do distract drivers, but so do stereos, children, ex girl friends, that "God she hot I can get a second peek in the Review mirror" chick on the foot path and of course map books and hot pies. mmmm pies....

Drivers that can be easily distracted to the point of being a danger will be distracted by something. The rest of us are probably fine. And the few who think they are best drivers on the road are the worst of all.

it's getting fixed (5, Informative)

dodocaptain (1177567) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563237)

Slashdot is a bit behind the times - Steven Joyce, Minister of Transport in NZ has instructed officials to fix this oversight in the law.

http://www.iphonewzealand.co.nz/2009/all/breaking-common-sense-prevails-law-is-to-be-amended/ [iphonewzealand.co.nz]

Re:it's getting fixed (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563297)

That is an incredibly direct and rapid response, together with prompt action on their concerns... from a government. It must be glitch.

Re:it's getting fixed (5, Funny)

retech (1228598) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563343)

It's not technically behind. NZ is a day ahead (more or less). So it's already happened here, we're just waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. By the time you read this, it will already be tomorrow in NZ and we'll have moved onto something just as bizarre and misunderstood by lawmakers.

BTW, the for those of you in the past the numbers were 11, 19, 27, 32, 41, 47 (39). Enjoy your new winnings!

I'm OK. (1)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563289)

New Zealander here, thank god I bought "Personal communication device with voice transmission capabilities" instead of that evil cellphones. I'm safe right?

As a Kiwi...This sucks. (3, Informative)

ThePeices (635180) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563305)

As a New Zealander I cant say that I am very happy with this decision. I think that an exemption must be made for hands free kits for these phones/satnavs. The rest of the new law was banning talking on a cellphone or txting while driving a vehicle, is commendable, but common sense needs to bear with laws like these.

This law needs amendment.

Re:As a Kiwi...This sucks. (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563375)

However, current mobile phones almost all have voice control and speakers. If it is safe to use a phone at all while driving (and current research suggests it isn't) I cannot see how having my phone in my shirt pocket and making a call without touching it differs from having a cradle for it.

Re:As a Kiwi...This sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563427)

As a Kiwi - I am outraged. How will I find my sheep in the long grass now?

Solution (1)

jamesfalloon (712634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563429)

I used a simple solution to the cellphone problem. When I heard about his law change I decided it was time to buy a laptop and use that for texting instead, as a bonus I'm posting on Slashdot right now as I'm driving home from work. Although i must admit navigating my iTunes library while driving can be a bit scary for passengers.

So the other day I'm wolfing down (2, Informative)

t0qer (230538) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563331)

One of those new Weinersnitzel Angus beef dogs, 2 Chili Cheese Fry's burrito's, and a large mountain dew all while driving. I was struggling with the box my Angus Beef hot dog came in, and recklessly looked in my lap to figure out why I couldn't get the damn box open by touch.

I turn into a real stupid ass when I drive. My mind started to wander and I had this gruesome image of my head wearing a glass necklace (slang term for when your head goes through the windshield) with a hotdog still stuck in my mouth. This mental image disturbed me even further when I thought that some jackass would probably take a snap with his camera phone and my mug would be all over ogrish.com or the like for eternity.

Then I finished my hotdog, chili cheese fry burritos and washed it down with my soda, all while driving with my knees.

Re:So the other day I'm wolfing down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563611)

That's all good, provided you don't go twitter about it.

Correction! (1)

Sinesurfer (40786) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563387)

It will *not* be Illegal to use a cellphone in a motor vehicle, "it will be illegal to use a mobile phone as a satellite navigation aid while driving".

Your passenger will operate the GPS and navigates which is a far less dangerous practice than trying to navigate, operate a GPS, drive a vehicle *and* avoid bumping into people and other cars.

No phones in cars?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563403)

But, wen can still carry a lamb for sexual gratification right? I mean, you can't take that away from us can they?

Nope, they've changed their minds again ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563467)

10:30pm news about 5 minutes ago confirms that it's going to be changed ... you will be able to use your phone as a satnav. Just not a a phone. Doh.

This outlowas the iPhone Gollum (TM) AGPS add on. (1)

ConallB (876297) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563565)

One does not simply follow the GPS into Mordor it seems!

Re:This outlowas the iPhone Gollum (TM) AGPS add o (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563585)

I guess you can't just use that one ring for everything.

This is whatcha call job security... (3, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563567)

... when you're a company that makes dedicated car navigation devices. Ain't it great when the guv'ment creates a captive audience for what you happen to be selling? All the auto insurance CEOs jizzed all over themselves the day that California mandated auto insurance but then didn't provide any. The same thing happened twice again when California also mandated helmets for motorcycles and bicycles, but then didn't provide any and didn't even use the state's collective buying power to negotiate a good deal for all the state citizens. Of course they should have done at least that much for auto insurance, too (and they kinda did, very belatedly).

Let's see if New Zealand screws up just as bad or surprise everybody and do it right. If you're gonna require something by law - or effectively do the same thing by banning something else - you'd damned well better keep a lid on the profiteering that is sure to ensue.

can't get there from here (4, Funny)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563685)

> "The Road User Amendment Rule 2009 means drivers will not be able to look at
> a navigation aid on a mobile phone when driving, even if it is mounted on
> the dashboard.

I'd go a step further and require all windows to be painted black so that
drivers may not look at the mountains or ogle at cute women they pass...

Like this sexy little minx... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29563937)

http://americas-best.com/graphics/pics_south-carolina-vice-agent.jpg

Excellent... (1)

muffen (321442) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563805)

So lets see if I got this correctly, they can't use phones to navigate and they can't use them to make phonecalls.

Anyone wanna buy an island, it's located a bit outside Australia and for some reason all the people that used to live there are lost in the woods.

They're all illegal! (3, Insightful)

countach (534280) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563825)

Most of the "dedicated' GPS units on the market actually have bluetooth which technically turns them into proxy mobile phones. So aren't they really saying that almost all GPS units are now illegal?

So you can make calls on a mobile (in a cradle) while driving, and use a GPS while driving, but you can't use a phone in a cradle as a GPS????

Probably protecting Navman (4, Interesting)

LinuxLuver (775817) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563961)

This interpretation of the new law is probably intended to protect the Navman GPS devices designed and (formerly) made in New Zealand. Senior government Minister, Murray McCully, is the MP for the electorate where navman is located (East Coast Bays). Other government ministers (Dr. Wayne Mapp - North Shore and Jonathan Coleman - Northcote) are also from the same area. The Prime Minister, John Key, is MP for Helensville.....right next door to East Coast Bays. Yes, this law is dumb.....But the current government knows few limits to dumb when the public interest gets in the way of filling the pockets of their cronies and donors: 1. gutting rail to favour the trucking lobby. 2. Hobbling commuter train growth to favour the bus operators. 3. Delaying the ETS application to their farmer base.....forcing all OTHER taxpayers to subsidise their national Party voting farmers. I could go on all day. This government is a crony feeding frenzy.

Silly. (1)

Capsy (1644737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29563997)

This sounds like a silly idea. If they're only concerned with the distraction that looking at the screen provides, then they should remove all DVD players, handheld consoles, laptops, radios, mp3 players, etc. How anyone can justify removing one tiny distraction but leaving a multitude of others is beyond me.

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