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19.8.09

Will I have to give up narcing on red-light-runners? 

It’s great that using while driving will become illegal in from November, with the usual exceptions of hands-free units. But, I wondered, what about people like me, who has very few uses for cellphones in cars, other than using the camera to catch offending motorists?
   A few months ago, there was a noticeable rise in motorists running red lights (enough to tick me off considering there were some close calls), so yours truly turned narc for reasons. Only thing is, my memory isn’t as good as it was. When filing a Roadwatch report on the New Zealand Police site, you need (rightly) to get everything correct: the date, time, type of car, colour, and whether there was a passenger. The location and the offence also needs to be recorded.
   Roadwatch reports do not result in a fine, but the red-light-runner (or whomever is the subject of the report) gets a letter in the mail, presumably to advise him or her to be more careful in future.
   To get all my info right, I resort to the camera. (Sometimes I use the voice recorder.) I asked the : how does the new law affect me?
   To their credit, I received a reply today, and it makes perfect sense:

Thanks for your enquiry regarding the use of cellphones. On the face of it, I think that taking a photo may we[ll] be as dangerous as texting but at this stage, there are some details of the new legislation that have not yet been finalised.

I did check the draft rules after my original enquiry to the New Zealand Police, and read this (emphasis in original):

21. New clause 7.3A inserted
The following clause is inserted after clause 7.3:
   “7.3A Ban on use of mobile telephones
   “(1) Except as provided in subclause (2), a driver must not use a mobile telephone while the driver is operating a vehicle.
   “(2) Subclause (1) does not apply to—
“(a) an enforcement officer; or
“(b) a driver using a mobile telephone to make a 111 or *555 call (emergency call) in a genuine emergency when it is unsafe or impractical to stop and park the vehicle in order to make the emergency call; or
“(c) a driver who uses a mobile telephone that—
   “(i) is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle while the mobile telephone is being used; and
   “(ii) does not require the pressing of more than 1 button on the mobile telephone to make, receive, or terminate a telephone call; or
“(d) a driver who uses a mobile telephone that—
   “(i) is not secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle; but
   “(ii) does not require the driver to hold, or to manipulate, the mobile telephone in order to make, receive, or terminate a telephone call; or
“(e) a driver who uses a mobile telephone when the vehicle that the driver is operating has stopped; but the vehicle has not temporarily stopped in the normal flow of traffic.”

   Not really much of a way out in my situation, as the rules intend to define a mobile telephone as one which can take pictures and have other features. And no, there’s no way under the Land Transport Act 1998 that I would be an ‘enforcement officer’.
   Either I can buy a digital camera that has no telephony features, resort to having a notepad in the car (potentially more dangerous?), train up my to get the details I miss, or, much to the joy of law-breakers, hang up my deputy sheriff star and let the red-light-runners go. I might have to go with the third option: in the words of Homer Simpson, ‘Self-improvement has always been a passion of mine.’
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Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.


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