Cellphone using drivers cause 182 accidents in New Zealand; Virginia seeks cellphone ban by drivers

Cellphone using drivers cause 182 accidents in New Zealand; Virginia seeks cellphone ban by drivers
Despite a ban in New Zealand that is supposed to prevent drivers from holding onto cellphones while driving a vehicle, 182 crashes in  2010 were caused by drivers going against the ban. As a result, there were 5 deaths caused by cellphone using drivers last year, and dozens of injuries. These accidents took place from November 1, 2009 when the ban on using a cellphone in a car was started-through December 8th of 2010.

The grim statistics tallied 5 dead, 12 serious injuries and 46 minor injuries. Despite the large number, it was a drop from the 254 crashes seen the prior year before the cellphone ban. There were also 5 fatal accidents during that year. Amazingly, less than a month after the ban became law, 2 people were killed in cellphone related crashes. After the first 5 months, more than 3,000 drivers were fined $80 each for driving while using a cellphone.

In a related story, the Virginia General Assembly is trying to pass a law that would prevent the usage of cellphones while driving, even if the phone is connected to hands-free equipment. Delegate Vivian Watts has proposed HB1630. So far, the bill has been voted on by voice and the result was a recommendation that no action be taken on the measure.

Under current state law, a driver cannot read or write text messages while behind the wheel. First offense is a $20 ticket, rising to $50 for any future violations. Delegate Watt says that driving while using a cellphone has been shown in research to be similar to driving drunk as it "impairs your focus," according to the lawmaker.

source: NewZealandHerald, DelmarvaNow

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2 Comments

1. javachris

Posts: 5; Member since: Dec 13, 2010

This is stupid! Let's ban people who talk to each other while riding together, or let's ban car stereos because they're distracting the driver. Instead of doing that, why don't they just raise the fine to $1000 or even more. Then let's see who'll talk on the phone without a handsfree.

2. cellgeek82

Posts: 518; Member since: Dec 20, 2009

The law always has stupid ways of handling things. If they'd just put full resposibility on the ones that screw up it would make sense. The ban laws are like saying little Billy put gum in the teachers chair so all gum is banned from school. People want to legalize marijuana but God-forbid you have a cell phone in your car!

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