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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Ministers announcing new regulations we can't read.



Which prompted the Thejournal.ie article Banned: Texting while driving now ‘completely prohibited’ April 11th 2014 and the Irish Times article Drivers caught on mobiles to face €1,000 fine April 12th 2014.

New road safety regulations come into effect today which mean anyone caught texting or “accessing information” on their phones will face a mandatory court appearance and a fine of up to €1,000 for a first offence.

The media and some others have really indulged in hysteria over this, leading some to think that this would prevent people from even answering their phones or using SatNav or Taxi drivers using hailing apps. On The Last Word with Matt Cooper (at 47 minutes) with guest Anton Savage did a piece on it without having read the regulation. I emailed the show I asked him to send me a link to the regulation he was discussing, no reply I asked Anton Savage to send it to me and he sent me a link to the Irish Times article, although the text of the regulation was available had had got it off the dept earlier that day.

The Department of Transport then complains about "misleading coverage".

How is this new?
Legislation already in place makes it an offence to HOLD a mobile phone while driving.
Before now, the legislation has not applied to mobile phones NOT being held.

What do they NOT do?
Contrary to some misleading media reports, they do not make it an offence to speak via a
hands-free device. Nor do they make it an offence to touch a button on a hand-free device in
order to answer a phone call.

So we have a picture of the regulation on a piece of paper on a desk, thanks Leo, no detail, they didn't release the text till about 5 days later, and then they complained about misleading media coverage.

The problem it takes a few days, for some unknown reason, for the regulation to be published on the Office of the Attorney General's Statute Book website.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar mentioned in speech some actions he was going to take including to deal with "Distraction by using mobile phones while driving", Speech by Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar at the Road Safety Authority International Conference on Driver Distraction in Dublin Castle on Thursday 20th March

There is no new law on "accessing information" the only place I could find that phrase was in General Scheme Of Road Traffic Bill 2012, Head 8 that was never implemented at the time.

Head 8 Amendment of section 3 of the Act of 2006 –Prohibiting keypad usage on a hands-free mobile phone while driving

Provide That:

A person shall not use or handle the keypad of a hands-free mobile phone for the purposes of texting or accessing information while driving a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place.

The above offence does not apply to the use by a driver of a hands free mobile phone car kit while driving. Evidence suggests that a large percentage of drivers who use hands-free devices are accessing the keypad of the phones to text and access information while driving. This new head is to prohibit this practice particularly as the technology for voice controlled activation of the keypad or voice controlled commands is rapidly advancing. AGS are anxious to prohibit the practice of texting while driving as it is very dangerous and is a considerable distraction to the driver. The new offence will be covered by the same penalty as the existing mobile phone use penalty.
Here is the Statutory Instrument Road Traffic Act 2006 (Restriction On Use Of Mobile Phones) Regulations 2014.

A person shall not while driving a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place—

(a) send a text message, or

(b) read a text message,

from a mobile phone.

The law was to come into force on May 1st.

The TheJournal.ie had another article on May 1st Texting while driving is BANNED from today., that was again wrong because it was based on the original, I think (I cannot find the original version) that they corrected their article on texting while driving and removed the 'accessing information is illegal' line,

The Irish Times also wrote an article on May 1st Drivers caught on mobiles now face increased fine of €1,000 which also repeated the erroneous “accessing information” line.

Hailo, the taxi app company confirmed with the department that the new rules do not afect the use of the Hailo app and posted common-sense advice.

1. Always have your device secured in a hands free cradle when driving.

2. Always pull in at a safe location if you need to access any further information from your device.

The Gardai posted an advisory on penalties for testing while driving when the law came into force.

Solicitor Rossa McMahon wrote a blog post Hanging on the telephone – has anyone got it right on the new ban on text driving? where he thought the Minister of Transport's note which attempted to clear up the confusion was also confused. In September he followed up on the law to try and clear up the issue of penalties for texting while driving.

Then Paschal Donohue is appointed Minister for Transport and does it again. With this tweet



PS
TDs discussing legislation that hasn't been published yet.

Gavin Sheridan pointed out


Pre-legislative Scrutiny was one of the government's key reforms.

Draft's of Bills or Heads of Bills are often published before the full bill is officially published, but now we have TDs discussing the Heads of Bills in the Dail and Committees before it has been published.

Links

http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/new-law-sees-up-to-1000-fine-for-mobile-phone-use-while-driving-627697.html

http://www.reddit.com/r/ireland/comments/24fyfg/drivers_caught_on_mobiles_face_increased_fine_of/

http://www.thejournal.ie/texting-driving-varadkar-1411046-Apr2014/

http://www.thejournal.ie/texting-driving-google-glass-1440995-May2014/?utm_source=twitter_self

http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=90193816

http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=90193563

http://www.garda.ie/Controller.aspx?Page=13186

https://twitter.com/lostexpectation/status/461930595493638144 thejournal corrected their article on texting while driving http://bit.ly/1milLc9 removed 'accesing information is illegal' line, now IT ?

https://hailocab.com/ireland/drivers/blog/2014/04/24/New%20Regulations%20on%20Phones%20in%20Vehicles

https://twitter.com/rossamcmahon/status/461810795035525120

http://aclatterofthelaw.com/2014/09/15/penalties-for-text-driving/

http://aclatterofthelaw.com/2014/04/30/hanging-on-the-telephone/

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/drivers-face-fines-and-points-as-law-on-texting-tightened-up-29639302.html

http://www.dailyedge.ie/varadkar-cup-texting-driving-1534075-Jun2014/

there was a 2010 heads of bill that referred to accessing information http://www.transport.ie/upload/general/13690-GENERAL_SCHEME_OF_ROAD_TRAFFIC_BILL_2012-0.DOC

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/drivers-caught-on-mobiles-face-increased-fine-of-1-000-from-today-1.1780046

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