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back to article Sweden: talk, text and drive? OK

Sweden is bucking the international trend towards restricting the use of mobiles in cars, reasoning that drivers would just ignore a ban. Swedish news site The Local is reporting that the Swedish National Road and Transport Institute (VTI) has decided there is “no reason” to ban drivers from talking or even texting – partly …

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Different

Trust the Swedes to be different. Having driven in Sweden the chances of meeting another car of the same bit of road is considerably less than many other countries and the main hazard is hitting a moose (tend to wonder out of the forest onto the road). They haven't banned the moose so I suspect there is little point in banning other less hazardous things.

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Re: Different

I don't quite get all the downvotes. He's right, you know.

Besides, my father in law (who ois Swedish) drives like a nut all the time yet never uses his mobile phone while he's driving. I think he's more dangerous than the moose...

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Re: Different

Besides which, there's always a generic "driving while distracted" catch-all, so there's no need for mobile-specific additional bits of law. That's just to keep the lawyers in aquavit

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Different

Moose in Europe? Never mind the mobile, you must be pissed or in a zoo. Now elk, that's another matter, lots of those, big and hairy ones with b-y great antlers.

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Re: "more dangerous than a moos"

What if the moose was texting?

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Facepalm

Re: Correction

"more dangerous than a moose"

Gotta stop eating the pink slime....

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Re: Different

Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti...

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At last

At last a nation with some common sense. Of course chatting on the phone is distracting, but so is talking to the passengers, ogling young ladies walking down the road, looking at road signs, listening to the radio, twiddling with the radio, thinking about the excuse that you're going to present to the wife for getting home late. If the people that elect you are not going to take any notice of you why bother.

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but so is...

Down voted for being a moron who doesn't realise and won't accept when told that talking on a mobile phone can be significantly more distracting than all the other activities listed.

I am not in favour of legislation, you can't legislate common sense. A moron with a phone is still a moron when you take away his phone, culling would be a solution, improves the gene pool as well.

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MJI
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Re: Is it?

small children fighting in a car is much more distracting than a very short "I am going to be 30 minutes late" phone call.

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Holmes

The ONLY penalty that would work with Phone and Txt driving that would work is banning ownership of a mobile phone or use of for X months, years or life. I.E. first offense ban of owning a Phone for 3 months if you call or txt while driving, 2nd a 2 year ban on owning a phone etc.

As some one who has been nearly ran over by some one txting while driving I am all for it.

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Wow, really?

"Chuck us your phone mate, I need to call someone. Hang on a minute while I turn the radio down."

Not saying it's right, but it's a lot easier to borrow a phone than a car. Anyway, I've often said that if you're going to ban phones in the car then you also need to ban radios, MP3 players, children and other passengers.

Well at least it'll make cars smaller and cheaper.

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Re: Wow, really?

Well you can, they're called motorbikes..No built in radio and harder to carry a conversation with a pillion. But then I've known people to listen to MP3 players when riding...which i've never done, i found riding hard enough without the extra challenge.

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Require the phone companies to reject calls except emergency calls from and to a phone that is moving. And that isn't on a train (trains would need to become phone base stations for people using phones in them, except for the quiet carriage). This is all feasible.

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Stop

Nearly run over

So you were nearly run over. Didn't you see the car coming? Did you think the car would automatically stop for you?

When you take into account that 30% of drivers think than can go over a pedestrian crossing without stopping for pedestrians then you do need to take some responsibility for your own safety. Don't assume anything with drivers.

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FAIL

1992 called. They want their network back.

So you want my phone to drop calls every time I walk from one cell to another. Nice idea.

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Re: 1992 called. They want their network back.

Well, I think they can also distinguish walking pace. Or running.

And if drivers with phones have to slow down to 10 mph to avoid being cut off, they'll be easy to spot. :-)

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Re: 1992 called. They want their network back.

"Yeah mate, just getting in the back now. Driver, airport please. Look I'd like to continue chatting about this billion-dollar business deal but the stupid phone compan....BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP..."

Or perhaps some kind of more humanitarian scenario if money's not your bag. You going to begrudge someone a call to their significant other in the hospital while their mate's blasting down the motorway trying to get there on time? "Calm down love, I'm not sure if I can hold him in but he'll be here when you get here" might be the words that save two people's lives there.

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Facepalm

DUH

Passengers? Oh, never thought about that...

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Facepalm

and minutes later, still clueless

Still hasn't thought of the passenger scenario....

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Re: Nearly run over

I was told by my driving instructor that you don't have to stop at a zebra crossing unless the pedestrian physically has a foot on the road.

No idea how true that is, but I'm sceptical

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No need for specific phone driving laws

Like most other countries, Sweden already has a law against driving while distracted. These laws can be used where needed and there is no need for a cellphone specific law.

Here in NZ we have a cellphone specific law that forbids even fiddling with the phone while driving. If I fiddle with the music function on an iphone I can get pinged. But if I do exactly the same on an ipod touch (with identical form factor, function and software) then the law does not apply. Stupid!

Specific laws are just political pandering.

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Anonymous Coward

Just arrest and prosecute

They must have safety laws in Sweden so just arrest, prossecute and incarcerate these fools under public safety laws. They are tool stupid and dangerous to be operating a motorized vehicle.

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Drop speed limits in Sweden, too.

Only makes sense. Over half the drivers ignore speed limits anyway.

For that matter, surely laws against murder are pointless, because over half of all murderers ignore the laws against murder, right?

Idiots.

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Re: Drop speed limits in Sweden, too.

Way to go Sweden, open the doors for complete anarchy...

As stated and extended from above, since most people breaking ANY law are ignoring that particular law, isn't that opening the floodgate for claims of every law being unenforceable, thus rendering EVERY law potentially null and void?

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Re: Drop speed limits in Sweden, too.

Now that you mention it, dropping speed limits on some roads is an astoundingly good idea. Some countries already work like that, and I don't see them about to descend into a pit of anarchy.

Really, "we won't follow the headless chickens wibbling about mobile phones" equates with "let's turn the whole country into Barter Town"?

Two men enter, one man leave!

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Comprehension fail

By definition, 100% of lawbreakers break the law - so the 'make murder legal then' point is idiotic. The point being made in respect of mobile phone use when driving is that a substantial proportion, possibly a majority, of all drivers do this. Having laws that most citizens break is considered a bad idea since it tends to bring the law into disrepute.

There's a stronger argument to be made as regards speed limits. I'd imagine there are very few drivers who can honestly claim never to have driven at 31 in a 30-limit. But the real purpose of the speed limit is to stop people driving at 50 through a 30-limit, which very few drivers do.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Comprehension fail

In some places - I believe California is one - speed limits are only legally enforceable if a survey within the last three years has shown 85% of driver to be within the limit. That seems a reasonable way of maintaining the democratic legitimacy of a regulation.

Paris, because she's fast and Californian.

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Downvoters are missing two points:

First: the swedes examined the available data, and concluded that banning usage of mobile phones appears to have no noticeable influence on the numbers of accidents on the roads. This "lets actually look at the data" approach seems novel, and I like it. Its illegal to drive while using a phone in Norway, a country suitably similar to Sweden, so this fact means the Swedes can probably do a pretty good side-by-side comparison and see if there are any benefits from adding a new law to the books.

Second: Driving-without-due-care is already illegal under some heading in most countries, and so there was no need to make use of phones illegal (a specific law just makes prosecution easier). Its probably illegal to drive while fucking too, but I don't think many countries have a law specifically for it.

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Re: Downvoters are missing two points:

>Swedes can probably do a pretty good side-by-side comparison

I'm afraid it is not quite so simple. Road construction standards and the topography are quite different between the two countries. Roads in Norway frequently follow contours along the edge of a fjord or lake and are just barely the minimum 6m width. Even major roads generally have no hard shoulder in Norway whereas many even quite minor roads in Sweden have a broad hard shoulder which slow traffic can use briefly so that faster traffic can safely overtake. And of course the Swedes have a lot more dual carriageway and motorway than we do. So it would be reasonable to expect that the same distracting behaviour would have more serious consequences in Norway. Head on collisions are relatively common here, especially in winter when the road is even narrower because of snow piled up at the edges.

But still, congratulations to the Swedes for taking a rational attitude to the matter.

Would have used the I'll drink to that icon but it#s much too expensive here.

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Anonymous Coward

enforcement

..they've got a point. its illegal in the UK - but every day I say many many drivers flouting the law...and nothing is done about it. so, UK, ENFORCE the law!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: enforcement

The police do enforce it.

I was on the train, a call got disconnected. I reached my station, got off and started to drive home. The caller called back, I answered and said I'd call back when I got home. I got 3 points - the police saw it was a 30s conversation - all use of a phone is banned and is enforced if you happen to be in the vicinity of a policeman.

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FAIL

Re: enforcement

"I answered and said I'd call back when I got home"

Bet you wish you'd invested £5 in a hands free kit now :-)

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Facepalm

Re: enforcement

Traffic enforcement is a job for the fixed speed camera's...

...Oh wait....

P.S. Speed kills - not drivers driving inappropriately, just speed.

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Stop

Brings to mind another story from a year or two back

In a study to see if roadsign inflation was having any effect on driver safety, a handful of European towns (forget which ones) removed most or possibly all roadsigns.

The end result was that people paid more attention to their surroundings and other cars and drove more carefully.

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[citation required]

1. "European Towns Remove Traffic Signs to Make Streets Safer", Deutsche Welle, 27 August 2006

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MJI
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A few points

General safety rules are good enough to deal with the dangerous phone users. There is no need for specific laws against using phones, DWDCAA covers this fine.

Stupid things on our phone laws, all hand held calls are banned with engine running, but nothing dangerous about calling home when in a traffic jam to say I will be late home. And since this law was brought in you see people stopping anywhere to take or make a call including on roundabouts.

Road signs, too many mean that you often can't find the important one, all we need are road names in town, route signs and give ways when we need to slow down or stop.

As to speed - why not ban speedos and problem goes away.

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Pint

Re: A few points

"Ban speedos"...

Too right sport. Don't want yer mate ta ask yer ta rub suncream inta his back when he's wearing budgie smugglas.

</aussie>

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Joke

They all drives Saab's and Volvo's...

...so no one will get hurt anyway

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Re: They all drives Saab's and Volvo's...

No they don't, go to the North of Sweden and the Audi A4 estate 20T is by FAR the most popular car... Quattro is king in the snow.

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So ...

... according to this article, there is a magical country where lawmakers look at the evidence, assess it, and then make a rational decision about whether to use parliamentary time to bring in a statute? Part of the assessment is "Can this law be enforced, and will it make a difference?" Personally, I don't believe a word of it - this was left over from April 1st and some office junior has posted it by mistake.

Seriously - well done Sweden. Once again, you are showing the world which way civilisation lies.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So ...

This is what happens to kids on drugs... It's not real.

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Anonymous Coward

Process of elimination

If enough people in Sweden talk/text while driving they will kill off 50+% of the population from car accidents and then the rest will know better than to be so stupid.

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