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Friday, 30 December 2011

US: restriction on use of mobile phones

The land of the free is introducing restrictions on using mobile phones while driving, from 3 January (or January 3, as they say over there). But only for drivers of commercial vehicles. Fisher & Phillips LLP, a specialist, US-wide, employment law firm of whom, unsurprisingly, I had not previously heard, have a briefing about the new law here if you're interested. I like the explanation that "the device must either be mounted or otherwise securely within reach at the control panel (in the area where the vehicle controls such as climate control and radio are located)." I am old-fashioned enough to think that "vehicle controls" is apt to describe items such as accelerator, brake pedal, clutch, gear lever, indicators and light switch: climate control, which means window winder (a handle mounted on the door panel) or, ideally, hood (not in the American sense) hardly seems to me to be a vehicle control, and radio is merely a desirable but frequently inaudible (especially when using the ideal climate control technology) accessory.

I am also old-fashioned enough to loathe mobile phones and their ubiquitous use, and to question the sanity of anyone who uses one illegally while driving. But there we are.

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