Mobile Entrepreneur Slams proposed Phone Ban
Media Release: For immediate release
Friday 13th June 2008
Mobile Entrepreneur Slams proposed Phone Ban
Mobile Phone Entrepreneur William Cass of New Zealand messaging company Aangel.com has spoken out strongly against proposed legislation to ban just the use of mobile phone whilst driving.
"Mobile phone use is just one of hundreds of things which may lead to driver distraction" he says and labels the proposed ban as pathetic and simply skirting the main issue leading to road smashes, poor road design. His company, Aangel, allows mobile users to make notes, contacts and appointments by just talking into their phone.
Cass says whilst extending heartfelt sympathy to the family of Lucy and Isabelle Simon, who died in a head on accident on the Kapiti coast late last year, Mr Duynhoven's using the tragedy as an example of why mobile phones should be banned whilst driving is callous and disturbing.
"The bridge those girls died on was constructed early last century, and has so many design flaws that it should be Transit that should be taken before the courts, not the mobile phone. Even with full concentration and 20 years of driving experience, I am still terrified every time I have to cross it. It's bloody ridiculous."
"You would only have to have a badly timed sneeze whilst crossing that bridge and you could end up dead. Are we going to legislate against sneezing too? How about vehicle entertainment and navigation systems?"
"Yet still New Zealanders don't stand up and force a real change. Instead they allow the state to enforce yet more unworkable and unpractical, revenue generating laws upon us. Laws which don't do any thing to address the problem and which are based on grossly misleading information."
Cass points to Centennial highway just north of Wellington. Dozens of deaths every year, all head on, and everyone preventable, he claims. As soon as Transit put in place the median barrier and cleaned up the lines there have been no fatalities. "Then Transit had the gall to gloat about an award they received for the project. They should hang their heads in shame as this should have been done years earlier and still just a few hundred meters up the road, after the barrier finishes, the crashes continue".
Cass is calling for a government inquiry into why Transit is not perusing an aggressive median barrier construction policy. "New Zealanders should demand an aggressive policy to get this problem sorted. Put in the median barriers and remove the deadly objects located just inches from the road edge, install sand traps and address this properly once and for all, or the carnage will just continue, year after year, killing hundreds more people. The idea that banning cell phone use will have even a slight impact on the road fatality death rate is just preposterous.
According to many studies done, less than 25% of crashes are a result of driver distraction and of that 25%, only 1.5% of driver distraction events leading to crashes are related to the cell phone. In other words, cell phone related distraction accounts for the cause just 0.5% of road crashes overall. In New Zealand, the rate of crashes attributed to driver distraction is only 11%
Of the 25% of crashes attributed to driver distraction, the specific sources of distraction were:
Outside person, object or event 29.4
Adjusting radio, cassette, CD 11.4
Other occupant in vehicle 10.9
Moving object in vehicle 4.3
Other device/object brought into vehicle 2.9
Adjusting vehicle/climate controls 2.8
Eating or drinking 1.7
Using/dialing cell phone 1.5
Smoking related 0.9
Other distraction 25.6
Unknown distraction 8.6
(Source Stutts et al, 2001)
Cass says as a nation we should forget about trying to legislate to prevent crashes, we should actually do something about it. He says improved road design combined with driver education are the only way to tackle the problem. "Aangel, and indeed the whole mobile community do not recommend using mobiles while driving. We don't recommend eating a cheeseburger while driving also. When you are driving you have to concentrate. The point is however, as long as you have human guided steel boxes heading towards each other at a combined rate of 200kms per hour simply relying on laws and a bit of yellow paint to prevent collisions, then fatal accidents will continue unabated. Just the cost of pushing this scandalous legislation through parliament, and then enforcing it, would pay to fix hundreds of kilometers of roads, which would actually save lives"