[LINK] Mobile phone use set to be banned in vehicles - nanny state??

Philip Argy pargy at argystar.com
Tue Feb 8 08:13:09 AEDT 2011

Part of the problem is the way the current law is enforced.  The definition
of 'driving' includes sitting behind the wheel of a stationary vehicle if
the engine is running, so pulling to the side of the road, with the
transmission in Park and the handbrake on, talking on your phone,
technically still leaves you liable to a fine.  That is absurd and although
most police wouldn't do it but I know of cases where they have fined people
who are only pulled over and stopped with their foot on the brake.
Similarly, being stopped in traffic or at the lights, even if they have just
turned red and you want to dial in a number while there is no prospect of
moving for some minutes, makes no difference.

I can't say I've seen people actually sending a text message while driving
but why isn't that covered by the requirement to be properly in control of a
vehicle - negligent driving and related offences are also perfectly adequate
to deal with these kinds of things, and are technology neutral.  However,
the police don't want to have to give evidence and risk a magistrate taking
the view that no harm was done, so we get more and more strict liability
offences which require only simple factual evidence without evidence of the
danger or circumstances.  

Even worse than the lazy legislation on mobiles is the obsessive war on
speed, and the reduction of speed limits on even major 'secondary' roads to
50 km/h is a case in point.  Soon we'll be back to requiring a man with a
red flag to walk in front of every vehicle!   When will pollies understand
that it's speed that is too fast for the circumstances that is dangerous,
and that out of context absolute speed limits are just illogical.  They're
just convenient for low-intelligence enforcement authorities to get
convictions, especially on freeways at 2 am and at the bottom of hills.

OK - end of rave!


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