Monday, December 01, 2003

Call barring

Legislation banning the use of mobile phones while driving comes into force in the UK today.

It is certainly annoying to come face-to-face with a driver who is not paying attention because they are talking on their phone, or who is incapable of turning the wheel properly because they are doing it one-handed. But in order to legislate against something, surely it should be more than merely irritating? Surely it should actually be a risk to others? Here's where there is a gap between perception and reality. While using a phone is a distraction, the evidence used to promote the new law indicates that the chance of an accident while talking on the phone is still very low - and that many other factors are much more likely to cause an accident: such as being distracted by a passenger or fiddling with the radio. Perhaps in-car stereos and in-car conversations should be banned. In fact, why don't we go further and ban people from walking along the street while looking attractive, interesting billboard advertising, and sneezing. Or we could accept that bans like these are as stupid as the behaviour they endeavour to prevent. There are already sufficient laws to cover situations where someone is driving without due care and attention. What we do not need is more legislation into our every minor, thoughtless action.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Drivers face mobile phone fines


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