Jan 142009

Here’s an interesting proposition.

The banning of hands-free mobile phone conversations whilst driving. Apparently it’s becoming quite the rage in the good ol’ US of A to legislate against using a mobile phone in any way, shape or form whilst driving, hands-free or otherwise. That move seems to be gathering a pace here in Oz as well, according to this article.
Of course, all and sundry would be aware that it’s an offence to drive and hold a short-ranged cellular UHF radio one’s lug’ole and chat away whilst driving a car. Not only is doing so a distraction from the driving process, it means you have only one hand with which to drive said car. Undue care and attention, it’s called. Mind you, how arm amputees get along driving with only one hand under that law amuses me, but I digress. Hands-free operation by shouting at the hand piece, using a corded or cordless earpiece is okay. Look around you when next in traffic, reader, and I know for a fact you’ll spot at least one other driver at any given moment with a mobile phone to an ear, the other hand on the wheel. I see it daily. It’s hardly uncommon.
Thing is, as the article points out, how can any proposed ban on hands-free mobile-phoning whilst driving be policed, if drivers are still flouting the law regarding hand-held operation willy-nilly? And how does a copper go about pulling over someone they might think is using a hands-free mobile, because their mouth happens to be moving whilst driving, only to discover there is no mobile phone & the driver was singing?
Certainly, operation of a mobile phone whilst driving, either hands-free or not, is a distraction from the exercise at hand. We all know that changing music while driving can be a distraction, but thankfully changing a CD isn’t a traffic offence. Yet. In fact, anything which causes a driver to lose focus on the road ahead, is a distraction. I’ve had a bluetooth earpiece go off in my right ear while driving along and have to admit to being startled out of my wits. If that’s not a distraction, I don’t know what is. But how to police such legislation? Have the law scanning mobile cell frequencies, locking in on those that are moving more than walking pace? How ludicrous!
Our roads are dangerous places at any time and any moves to make them safer have to be applauded, but seriously….banning the use of hands-free phone operation??? Surely politicians and lobbyists have more profitable pursuits than dreaming up legislation which can’t possibly be properly policed, let along actually contribute to the betterment of society. I strongly suspect this is yet another example of “America’s doing it….so should we”. Wake up & smell the roses, people. Let the Yanks do what they want. We’ll just do the sensible thing over here, thanks.

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