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

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  • from TFA... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stimpleton ( 732392 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @04:27AM (#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.
  • by wjh31 ( 1372867 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @04:31AM (#29563193) Homepage
    you can, only its going to cost you $30 instead of $300.
  • by RMH101 ( 636144 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @04:41AM (#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.
  • by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @04:42AM (#29563223)

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

  • by Ma8thew ( 861741 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @04:46AM (#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:from TFA... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ma8thew ( 861741 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @04:52AM (#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).
  • by stonedcat ( 80201 ) <hikaricore [at]> on Monday September 28, 2009 @05:29AM (#29563399) Homepage

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

  • by RMH101 ( 636144 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @05:50AM (#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.
  • RTFA (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28, 2009 @05:58AM (#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.)

  • by Jared555 ( 874152 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @06:02AM (#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.

  • by macraig ( 621737 ) <mark.a.craig@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday September 28, 2009 @06:08AM (#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.

  • by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 ) <> on Monday September 28, 2009 @06:15AM (#29563607) Homepage

    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.

  • by Dan541 ( 1032000 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @06:25AM (#29563667) Homepage

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28, 2009 @06:28AM (#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.

  • by countach ( 534280 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @06:53AM (#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????

  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john AT hartnup DOT net> on Monday September 28, 2009 @06:57AM (#29563835) Homepage

    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.

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @07:20AM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28, 2009 @07:33AM (#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 :

    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
    By contrast, the navigation function is not.

  • by IBBoard ( 1128019 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @08:11AM (#29564165) Homepage

    I would say sat navigation makes the road safer overall.

    Except for the idiots who a) take it too literally and ignore road signs the satnav doesn't know about (like some one-way systems that aren't on its maps, or junctions that aren't really there, or U-turns that you could take but probably shouldn't), b) just enter a destination and get lost because it isn't accurate enough or it picked the wrong one, c) decide that the best time to fiddle with the route is while still driving or d) leave all of their indicating and moving to the last minute rather than having planned ahead even vaguely.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @08:17AM (#29564203) Homepage

    I was told people who have a driver's licence are qualified to operate a car.

    you were lied to. People with a license simply passed a very easy and incredibly rudimentary testing. They are not skilled enough to safely drive a car, they are not educated in collision avoidance or defensive driving.

    At least here in the USA, it's that way. Honestly, around here a baked potato can get a drivers license.

  • by that this is not und ( 1026860 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @08:19AM (#29564215)

    A common roadside defense is 'I am not one of those shit drivers. I am truly skilled.'

    The cop still writes the ticket, and in fact is less likely to let the driver off with a warning.

    As it should be.

  • by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:31AM (#29564775) Journal

    Yeah, but how many deaths and injuries does Hamburger distraction cause every year?

  • by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <slashdot AT pitabred DOT dyndns DOT org> on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:04AM (#29565137) Homepage
    Passengers should be banned, too. That increases reaction time. Hell, anything you do other than keenly staring ahead and in your mirrors reduces reaction time.

    Driving is dangerous. We already have laws that ban dangerous and distracted driving... if someone is being dangerous, pull them over. Do we not have video cameras for evidence?

    Banning everything someone might do piecemeal is asinine. Stupid people will find a way to do stupid things without explicitly breaking the law.

    BTW, those cell-phone studies were almost certainly done with people right at the legal limit for "drunk" driving. Makes you think about how stupidly low those limits are, eh? MADD is a prohibitionist organization.
  • by MindlessAutomata ( 1282944 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:22AM (#29565363)

    Yes, but people with passengers in the car WITH them actually recovers a bit from risk from what you would see with cell phones, as apparently passengers, during a tricky driving moment or such, know when to shut up or may even alert the driver to dangers in the road. The studies on this have already accounted for that factor.

    Dispute the facts all you want, but driving and talking on a cell phone depletes attentional resources considerably.

  • Re:from TFA... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Totenglocke ( 1291680 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:57AM (#29565777)

    Sometimes you "freedom" people come across as real dicks.

    Maybe, but you freedom hating people always come across as dicks.

  • by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:26AM (#29566245)

    People who claim that they drive safely while using a phone probably think they also drive safely with .2% blood alcohol content.

    Or, some of us just pay a lot less attention to the person we're talking to on the phone.

    Just last week I called 911 on a guy who clearly did have a .2 BAC on the highway. And 911 instructions were "Can you please stay on the line with a state trooper?" Comparing my driving while calling in a drunk driver to a drunk driver I can say with a pretty high degree of confidence that my driving wasn't as bad as his.

  • by owlstead ( 636356 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:57PM (#29568795)

    The whole driving business is basically to get people (including children) and/or materials from A to B. You have to stay at home to be safe. Hate to bring this to you, but I presume you would have gotten the hint sooner or later.

  • Re:Rigged Tests (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ma8thew ( 861741 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @06:06PM (#29573003)
    ABS brakes help everyone. Try braking and steering at the same time without it. And your post carries the tone of someone who believes himself to be a well above average driver. Guess what: most drivers believe themselves to be above average drivers. Our capability for self appraisal is not good.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham