Study highlights mobile phone laws, driver education need revamp | Law

Study highlights mobile phone laws, driver education need revamp

Professor Alex Steel comments on our current mobile phone laws in the Sydney Morning Herald, 26 October 2014.

Mobile phone laws are confusing, overly broad, constantly out-dated and do not warrant the vast amount of time and money spent on enforcement, an in-depth analysis of the legislation by a leading law academic says.

In his study, published in the Criminal Law Journal, Professor Steel said there were many bizarre anomalies and ambiguities, particularly because of new technologies such as voice-to-text and wrist phones. The law has become so complex that it criminalises some behaviours unjustifiably, such as looking at the time on a phone or using a phone while riding a horse, but drivers rarely challenge the legislation in court.

"It's the sort of law that is doomed to fail because you're basing prohibition on forms of technology that have evolved even before the law has been enacted," Professor Steel said

"You have this very complicated law, then you have an advertising campaign to simplify it, then a local police officers understanding of what he or she thinks it is, issuing on-the-spot fines to a person who has even less of an idea of what the law is."

Read the full article in the Sydney Morning Herald here.

Kids more distracting than mobiles?

Professor Alex Steel also spoke to 2UE's Stuart Bocking about his published research which argued using a mobile phone whilst driving was less distracting than tasks such as interacting with children (27 October 2014). 

Listen to the interview here.