Monday 31 August 2009

Tourism crashes this car

I make no apologies for this posting.

I, like thousands of other locals, drive every day on our roads. It's part of our daily necessity. Following some horrible road killings, most preventable, over recent weeks, I want to show you the stupidity of some.

Last week, a CairnsBlog reader emailed me this photo, showing an employee of Heli Charters driving on the Captain Cook Highway, yapping on his mobile phone. "It went on all the way from Holloways Beach roundabout to the airport," the sender wrote. He assured me his passenger snapped the scene.

Now I don't want to become a 'dob em in' service, as we're not all perfect drivers sometime.

However, there are a few things that I have little patience on the road for. Top of the list is using a mobile phone, either talking or texting with it. They're lethal distractions and can easily be connected to driver dysfunction.

I showed this photo to Cairns Senior Constable Russell Parker today. He saw this all too often, and suggested I pass it onto the traffic branch to pursue. I asked him about the incidents he encounters around Cairns with the use of mobile phones. Russell told me about an incident last year, when he was doing random stops along the northern highway, not far from the Fruit Bat.

"I was flagging vehicles down that were over the 80 kph limit. This one was doing 96, so I waved my lit beacon to stop the driver," Russell recounted. "The vehicle didn't slow at all as it was fast approached me," Russell said.

Constable Parker said the driver was almost on top of him when he swerved and saw the officer's instruction to stop. The young driver admitted he was using his mobile, and wasn't watching the road, probably for hundreds of meters.

Using a mobile will gain you three demerit points and a fine just over $300. You can also get stung with careless use of a motor vehicle, another chunky fine. However, the fines are one thing. It's the consequences of not looking at the road, and the evolving conditions that hurt the most.

When you see a marked company vehicle, like the Heli Charters one, I am reminded about the local tourism campaign that touts on about how visitor dollars inject into our economy. Well, in this case, it will be a great bit of marketing when this driver crashes whilst using his mobile, costing not only his company and their image, but probably someones life.

In Wales, a very graphic advertisement has just hit the screens, showing the violent conclusion of using mobiles in cars. It was part of a 30-minute drama produced by Peter Watkins-Hughes, an award-winning BBC producer.

Its all about Cassie, a girl who kills four people on the road because she used her mobile and lost concentration for a few tiny seconds. It's a challenging piece of footage.


Carl Butcher said...

I see this kind of thing day in, day out as I'm on the road everyday for work.

Seriously people, get yourself a hands free kit like the BlueAnt Supertooth. It sits on your sun visor and costs around $150 and is well worth the money.

Joanne Rays said...

Carl, one of those ear pieces comes standard with every mobile these days....; or you can buy one for around $10.

Carl Butcher said...

Indeed Joanne, but if you're on the road a lot as I am, a more practical solution is one of the bluetooth sun visor hands free kits.

Each to their own and budget though, was simply a suggestion :-)

Loungeroom Dancer said...

It doesn't stop here ... yesterday my husband and I watched a couple alight from a Heli Charter company vehicle at the Stony Creek carpark and proceed to take their dog for a walk to the creek - straight past the "No Dogs" sign.

Loungeroom Dancer

Thaddeus said...

Do you really need to receive or make calls when you're driving???

debbie said...

CARLOS! A hands-free kit won't help either because you are still being distracted by having a conversation with someone at the other end of the line. Which is different to having a conversation with someone in the passenger seat as they are usually aware of the traffic situation you are dealing with and can also be a second pair of eyes. Switch the mobile OFF or just don't answer it. If it is that important they will leave a message or ring you back.

Carl Butcher said...

Debbie, I pull over to talk when safe to do so and I can't switch it off or not answer it, that's business.

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

I've given up those dangerous habits of talking or texting on the phone whilst driving. Now, I only paint my toenails - it's much safer in traffic.

Seriously - I'm with Debbie above -the only option is to pull over to the side of the road, & then talk. Or, if your business can support it, get divert the call & get someone in the office to answer it, take details & you ring them back. Such people used to be called 'Secretaries'. They can be very useful.

Studies are showing that talking on handsfree is almost (ie. 80%) as distracting as talking or texting whilst driving, so it's not a great option. And what about such situations as talking to the Ex about child-care arrangements on the weekend, & similar situations - that can lead to a fair surge in the old adrenalin, can't it? Not safe.

Studies in US & Europe are also showing that there is less business productivity from multi-tasking - ie. monitoring emails whilst writing a report; taking car calls whilst on the way to see a client or associated business etc. All it leads to is decreased productivity & a scrambled, sore brain.

Our brains have been wired for millenia for Just So Much Input. Whilst not at all a Luddite, the advances in technology in the last century & decade (especially) have made our lives so much busier, but to what end & cost? Sure, some of it works, but how many of us go, for example to our email to make one simple email, & spend an hour looking at another 10 things/issues that have come in. Come on, fess up!

I think partly this is why so many of us are reporting our years are going so quickly - & it's not just the oldies, the young are also reporting that their years are going fast. Something to ponder, campers.

We again need time to consolidate our thoughts and positions, & consider calmly what action to take. We need down time, staring at birds, plants, the sea etc. to empty & revitalise our brain.

mandy moo said...

Hahaha......the things we see. Driving along the highway into Wollongong today, and the man in the vehicle behind me was not the shaving brush kind, an electric one.......surely that's worse than talking on a mobile ??