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AA Concerned About Delay In Cellphone Ban

11 August 2004

AA Concerned About Delay In Cellphone Ban

“Motorists will be very concerned on learning of the Government’s apparent reluctance to proceed with implementing a ban on the use of hand held cellphones while driving” said George Fairbairn, AA Director of Public Affairs today.

This follows the announcement earlier this week that the Government will not proceed at this time with implementing a ban on hand held cellphones. The Government has instead directed the LTSA to undertaken a further analysis on the issue.

The Association strongly supports a ban on the use of hand held cellphones being introduced immediately, and refers to strong public support for the introduction of such a measure.

A recent AA survey of its members showed that 63% of motorists were “extremely concerned” about the use of cellphones while driving. Only 2% of respondents were “not concerned at all”. Concern about cellphone use while driving outweighed all other driver distractions identified in the survey by a large margin.

“Hand held cellphones are a known and dangerous distraction while driving and their use raises obvious road safety risks. It is important that motorists receive a clear message that they are expected to keep two hands on the wheel at all times, and should be focusing on the road and not other matters when driving. Implementing a statutory ban on hand held cellphone use while driving will send a positive signal that such behaviour is unacceptable and unsafe” George Fairbairn, AA Director of Public Affairs said today.

Mr Fairbairn went on to say “the need for a ban on the use of hand held cellphones at this time is greater than ever, with the increased use of text messaging particularly by young persons who are often on a limited or restricted licence. Such use significantly increases the serious distraction posed by using a hand held cellphone while driving”.

A ban on the use of hand held cellphones while driving is common in many other countries that have a better road safety record, other things being considered, than New Zealand presently does.

ENDS

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