Drivers should concentrate on the road, not on their cellphones

Motorists who talk on handheld or hands-free cellular phones are as impaired as drunk drivers, according to a University of Utah study.

Living Streets Aotearoa applauds the Minister of Transport, Steven Joyce, for seeking to ban cell phone calls and texting by drivers.

“Drivers should concentrate on the road, and not on their cell phones”, says Celia Wade-Brown, president of Living Streets Aotearoa.

“Pedestrians need eye-to-eye contact with drivers to make sure they can cross the road safely. Drivers who are texting or chatting on their phones are nine times as likely to have a crash. Where the crash involves a pedestrian, there is a high chance of the pedestrian dying.”

Living Streets, the national organization for pedestrians and walkers, has been pressing for a law change for years, and discussed the issue with Harry Duynhoven, then Minister for Transport Safety, in 2007.

In Australia, the state of Victoria banned the use of cell phones by drivers as long ago as 1988, and many other countries, including Sweden and the UK have bans in place.

“It’s time New Zealand caught up with the rest of the world. We are pleased that the Minister of Transport wants action this year”, says Wade-Brown.

For more information:

Celia Wade-Brown, President, Living Streets Aotearoa, 027 483 6691
Liz Thomas, Director Living Streets Aotearoa, 04 472 8280 or 021 106 4201

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About Us

Living Streets Aotearoa is the New Zealand organisation for people on foot, promoting walking-friendly communities. We are a nationwide organisation with local branches and affiliates throughout New Zealand.

We want more people walking and enjoying public spaces be they young or old, fast or slow, whether walking, sitting, commuting, shopping, between appointments, or out on the streets for exercise, for leisure or for pleasure.

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