Opinion: Phone fines should rise
WE SHOULD FOLLOW SUIT AND INTRODUCE BIGGER FINES IN NEW ZEALAND BECAUSE THE CURRENT SYSTEM ISN’T WORKING.
If you want an expensive lesson about not using your mobile when driving, then head to Melbourne.
Since 2009 it’s been illegal to use your phone while driving in New Zealand and you face an $80 fine and 20 demerit points.
But across the Ditch looking at your cellphone, even while stationary, can be more costly.
A motoring colleague was driving around inner-city Melbourne trying to find his hotel when, while stopped at traffic lights, he picked up his cellphone to glance at the map app. A police officer on a bicycle tapped on his car window — and despite the “lost tourist” line fined him A$433 ($460). If he’d been a local, he would also have been hit with four demerit points — costly as you’re only allowed 12 over three years.
I reckon we should follow suit and introduce bigger fines in New Zealand.
This week a colleague was nearly hit by a tradie van weaving across motorway lanes as the driver had talked on a cellphone. Driven’s resident motorcyclist has lost count on his weekday commute of drivers illegally using their phones, and I witnessed a mum with kids in the car drive through a give-way sign as she was texting.
A $460 fine over $80 for using your phone? Yip, most of us would hang up.
With dusk and home time commutes now coinciding, I have a plea to cyclist: turn on your helmet/bike light and wear a high visibility vest.
My home drive thoroughfare mainly includes four-lane roads with large sections of flat where cyclists can get up to at least 50/km. On downhill places they can pick up real speed.
But when cyclists are wearing dark clothing, with no light on their bike and travelling at speed, it makes sharing the road a risky business. Such an attired cyclist tore through a roundabout the other night — and with trees behind him was almost invisible.
Another two-wheeler warrior tore alongside us going downhill, doing a speed that we could only envy in stop-start traffic. But with no lights on, and wearing dark clothing, he was almost impossible to see.
So shine your light cyclists so us drivers can you coming.