So as the NSW government considers introducing the Zero Tolerance P plater laws, they have already agreed to pass a new restriction on P-PLATERS. When this new law is passed late march or early april, all P platers will be banned from using mobile phones while driving. Now this might not come as big news since mobile phones have been banned for some time, but this new law doesn’t just target mobile phones but also Bluetooth, earpieces or hands-free devices will be outlawed in P-plated vehicles.
The phone ban will mean first-year drivers caught texting or talking on mobile phones more than once will automatically lose their license. The only way P platers will be able to call friends and family will be when they are pulled over to the side of the road with the vehicle stopped and the engine off. The sad thing is, you actually have to turn the engine off, cause a possible road hazard in order to answer an important call, even if you have a bluetooth car kit.
What I really want to know though, is how are the police going to monitor inbuilt and wired in bluetooth mobile phone systems? All new high end vehicles come with built in mobile phone integration technology. Are the police going to simply start pulling over any young driver who is talking in their vehicle? What about Australian idol wannabes singing in their cars? What about those of us who talk to ourselves?
The NSW government, like other governments has gone crazy with the P-plater restrictions, this is mainly due to the rising death toll of P platers with a near 30% increase in 2006 (94). So since the high powered car restrictions have no worked, they are trying to come up with more intuitive ways of stopping P platers accidents. Unfortunately, again, this isn’t one of them!
The Government argues that banning the use of mobile phones completely was based on a concern there were are too many distractions in the car. I dont know about you, but I always find that trying to change the song on an iPod connected to a car stereo far more destracting than talking on a bluetooth handsfree headset to my friends?
“There is a dramatically increased risk of accident when a young driver uses a mobile phone while driving,” NSW Government.
Although there is some good news. Yesterday I wrote about the Zero Point P Plater restrictions and discussed the illogical form of driving these restrictions would bring to all new drivers and thankfully the NSW road minister (Mr Roozendaal) seems to agree, a little.
“There are difficulties with that because people need to realise that now P-platers have their licence for three years, young kids need to take some responsibility for their own actions and indeed their families need to be reinforcing to them the dangers of acting in a silly or reckless way.”he said.
Former NRMA director Richard Talbot (Now president of the Motor Action Group) agreed that the proposed zero tolerance laws will be unfair on young drivers.
“We believe it could be very unfair on both the P-platers and their families.” he said
Another day in NSW, another new law to stop P platers from killing themselves. I am sure in 12 months time i will be here writing about the failure of these laws and about the introduction of some even stricter laws! Perhaps in 2008 the NSW government will introduce a 50km maximum speed limit for P platers? Or maybe all P platers should always be accompanied by a open license holder for the first year?