Since November 2009, it has been illegal to use a mobile phone while driving. This includes making phone calls, answering phone calls and texting. Hands-free phones are legal; however, they can also distract drivers. A driver needs to pay attention 100% of the time and phone calls are a distraction.
More and more people have a mobile phone so the problem is becoming a bigger one. Police said that 13,000 drivers were caught last year using their phones while driving. There were at least 150 crashes caused by talking on phones or texting.
One woman last June lost control of her car while texting and her car went over a bank. A tree stopped the fall 9m down the bank. Luckily she was wearing a seat belt and was not killed. Another woman was probably texting when her car crossed the centre line and hit another car. The woman was killed and the driver and passengers in the other car were badly injured.
Police say that you should put your phone in the glove box while you are driving. If that is still a temptation, put the phone in the boot of the car.
In New Zealand, before a vehicle is allowed to drive in the public, it must undergo a warrant of fitness (WOF) inspection to make sure that the vehicle is safe to drive. Legally, vehicles that are less than 6 years old should under go WOF inspection every 12 months and for vehicles that is more than 6 years old, should undergo WOF every 6 months.
See Warrant of Fitness.
Listen also to Jan 27 2013 to hear more about Warrant of Fitness changes.
• illegal – against the law (opposite: legal)
• distract (v) / distraction (n) – take away your attention from what you should be doing
• mobile – can move, portable;
• mobile phone – also called cell phone
• lost control – to lose control – these words collocate (go together)
• a bank – a cliff
• injured – hurt (wounded = injured by another person e.g. in a war)
• glove box (Br) – compartment (Am) in dashboard which usually has the car manual (book) in it
• temptation – desire to have something that you know you should not have; these words collocate (go together) “resist temptation”.
• boot (Br) – trunk (Am) – luggage compartment on a car
• Present perfect: “it has been illegal since 2009 / it has been illegal for 3 years”
Present perfect tenses shows something that started in the past and continues today
• “The problem is becoming a bigger one.” “one” here means “problem” i.e. “the problem is becoming a bigger problem.”
• Texting while driving; the words “you are” are omitted because they are understood e.g. while you are driving. “while” begins a clause with a verb. “during” begins a phrase without a verb.
Do you know these parts of the car: windshield / windscreen, wipers, rear vision mirror, dashboard, speedometer, headlights, tail lights?
What other parts of the car do you know?