Ban on driver cellphone use looms

BY TRACY WATKINS
Last updated 05:00 22/07/2009

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A ban on using hand-held cellphones while driving looks set to be in place by October as officials prepare to report back to Transport Minister Steven Joyce this week.

Mr Joyce confirmed yesterday he expected recommendations to land on his desk by the end of the week after lengthy public consultation.

But he has made his intentions clear a ban on texting while driving was a "no-brainer" and he had sympathy for the view that taking calls on a hand-held cellphones should be outlawed.

Hands-free cellphone kits would be allowed.

Public consultation is expected to show broad support for the change.

The previous Labour-led government set the process in motion with a proposal to fine drivers $50 and impose 25 demerit points for using hand-held phones. Telecommunications companies Telecom and Vodafone endorsed the change.

Road safety experts suggest that drivers are nine times more likely to have a crash if they are using a cellphone, and cellphone use has been blamed for close to 100 crashes a year.

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- The Dominion Post

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