mat_fenwick wrote:Regarding photo taking, is it necessarily more dangerous than changing the radio station? On my cameraphone I could slide open the lens cover and take a photo by pressing one button, which (if the road was clear) maybe would be no worse than using the radio etc.
The law as it stands at the moment restricts the holding of anything while driving. Pressing a fixed button in the car is perfectly acceptable (IE radio button, heated rear window etc) but if you have to hold the item to use it, then it is not legal. In theory, if a mobile phone were fixed to the dashboard in a solid mount, and as such does not have to be held to be used, then it is legal to use it on the proviso that it is not distracting. Holding a conversation on a hands-free kit is then a different matter. If it can be conducted as if you were talking to someone else in the car, and the person on the other end of the line knows you are driving, then no problem, but if the conversation requires more of your concentration than you are able to give, you should stop, or terminate the call.Philip Chidlow wrote:What constitutes distracting and at what level should it be legislated against? For me having two bickering (or even fighting) children in the back seats must be enormously (it is, actually!) distracting. And can you legislate against that?
Very similar to the work of a pilot. They are frequently on the radio communicating with ground stations. However, radio communication is less important than flying the aircraft. If the flying suddenly requires that amount of concentration back again, then you ignore the radio, and simply fly the aircraft. I've done this a number of times before now when talking to someone hands free... got to a complex roundabout where I wasn't sure where I was going and had heavy fast traffic to deal with. Once I was over the roundabout I had to ask the other person what they had said over the last 30 seconds, as I had completely ignored them and not said anything.
As for other distractions in the car, I know when I was a young child I was taught in no uncertain terms that I would not cause a problem while in the car. I know this doesn't work for everyone, but you simply have to have an arrangement that works for your situation. I know if I had two children bickering or fighting in the back of a car that was causing a sufficient disctraction that I couldn't concentrate on driving, I'd stop. Just because there's a distraction in my own vehicle doesn't mean I should put everyone else's lives at risk.
Same as taking a photo or using a mobile phone while driving. If someone is willing to put themselves at risk like that, then I don't care if they stick their car nose first in a ditch.. that's their problem. What I object to is the fact that they are putting everyone else in the vicinity at a greatly increased risk. When the tosser in the Range-Rover on his poxy mobile phone misses the give-way sign at a junction and ploughs into the Citroen AX with a mother and small child in it, it won't be the Range-Rover driver who is injured...