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Government to ban use of cell phones while driving

Published:Saturday | June 21, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Sheldon Williams, Staff Reporter

Motorists will have to get used to missing telephone calls and avoid reading text messages when driving, as new laws in the Road Traffic bill propose the banning of electronic communication devices while driving.

Section 125 (1) of the bill states that subject to subsection (3), a person shall not drive or operate a motor vehicle on a road while using an electronic device whether by holding in one hand or both hands or with any other part of the body or otherwise unless the electronic device is:

(a) Attached to the motor vehicle, or a fixture in the vehicle and remains affixed while being used;

(b) specially adapted or designed to be affixed to the person of the driver as a hands-free device.

Dr Lucien Jones, vice-chairman and convener of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) welcomed the proposed legislation. "The general context is that the use of cell phones while driving is a major international problem especially driving and texting because driving and texting is shown to be just as dangerous as driving and drinking," he said.

But he outlined that using a hands-free device might not prevent crashes. "The data is showing that there are distractions even when using hands-free devices because of what you call cognitive problems, because you are thinking about what you are saying rather than driving," he said.

He pointed out that police data show that people are sometimes distracted when driving, fail to keep left and drift across the white line.