According to an article on stuff.co.nz this morning, the Ministry of Transport’s Road User Amendment Rule 2009 which will become law in November, will outlaw the use of satellite navigation apps on mobile phones, even if it is mounted to the dashboard.
[jump to petition]
The article quotes Transport Ministry spokesman John Summers as saying “The Road User Amendment Rule 2009 means drivers will not be able to look at a navigation aid on a mobile phone when driving, even if it is mounted on the dashboard. You can use a mobile phone held in a cradle while driving, but only to make, receive or terminate a phone call. You cannot use them in any other way, such as reading a GPS map, reading email or consulting an electronic diary.”
Want some salt for that wound? While the government is adamant your copy of TomTom or Sygic for iPhone is going to wreck lives and kill people, it is perfectly happy for you to have a dedicated Sat Nav unit. It’s also perfectly happy for you to put a paper map on the passenger seat and have you glance down at that.
We’re pretty fired up about this. There is absolutely zero difference between using a dedicated GPS system and using a properly mounted iPhone (or any other mobile device) with good quality turn-by-turn navigation software. Right now, people are spending hundreds of dollars on navigation apps for a plethora of smartphone platforms in good faith. They’re buying them because it’s safer to have your device verbally tell you where you’re going than it is to struggle with a paper map. They’re buying them because the technology is tried and tested and it’s simply converging several devices into one.
But the New Zealand nanny state knows better than you. It knows better than every country in the world! So what if its good enough for the US, the UK, Australia, Canada… what do those countries know? We’re New Zealand and we know best. Let’s welcome the tourists from those other countries, but then when they get here with their satellite navigation systems which they stupidly bought thinking it would actually make them safer (the fools!), let’s pull them over and ruin their holiday with a big fat fine. Let’s force them to use paper maps and put our own families at risk. Let’s send them home telling their friends and family what a backward nation we are!
Once again our know-it-all government is about to thrust a law onto its citizens that it has ill-researched and ill-written. Yes, Eric Hertz of 2degrees rear-ended a car because he was using Google Maps on his iPhone. But you know what? Eric Hertz is an idiot if that’s the kind of thing he does. Google Maps isn’t a turn-by-turn navigation aid. Those of us that aren’t idiots have made smart investments in the appropriate software and we’re damned if we’re going to let the government tell us we can’t use them.
Furthermore, we’d like to know exactly what the government are planning to do to stop people from buying these apps from now on. We’re just two months away from this farce becoming law, and NOW they decide to tell us we’re throwing our money away if we buy these apps? Will they re-imburse us? What are they doing to stop more people from falling into this trap? It is irresponsible and immoral to continue to allow people to buy these applications when the government is going to outlaw in just a few weeks time.
So what can we do? We are thinking about that. We intend to be as public with our opposition to this facet of the law and make as much noise about it as possible. In the meantime, please sign our petition (below) and let us know your thoughts.
This Petition is now closed as the matter has been resolved. Thanks to everyone who signed (189 Signatures)
You can view a record of the petition here