New laws against cell phone use in cars creating tragicomical situations in Norway

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Here in Norway, it’s been against the law to be on the phone directly without a handsfree for a while. You could however use it if it was mounted in the car, but that changed earlier this year. The current law says that you cannot even touch a cellphone while driving, with the only exception being accepting and hanging up calls on a mounted device. The only way you’re allowed to use any part of the phone is if it’s completely hands free, such as via phone integration features in newer cars.

The problem with this law is that the brilliant minds behind it were a bit too specific when creating it, and the law only applies to cell phones. Electronics that can’t make calls aren’t covered, which means that you could sit there and tap away at a tablet or dedicated music player without it being illegal. If you plug in your iPod touch to your music system, you can operate it legally, but if you do it with your iPhone, you’re breaking the law. Using a dedicated GPS unit? Tap away! Using Google Navigation on a tablet! Tap away! Using Google Navigation on a phone! How dare you!

Obviously, for things like music playback and navigation, the distinction between phone-enabled devices and others make absolutely no sense. I’m not inherently against laws that force drivers to be more attentive, but it’s hard not to look at the legal system as a big joke when things like this happen. You have to wonder how no one saw this one coming, and it kind of scares me that people this short sighted are in control of the country I live in. I’m sure something will be done about it eventually, but in the meanwhile, it seems like MP3 players just got a second chance at life over here.

[Dagbladet (Norwegian)]
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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets and tends to stick with his choice of device for a long time as a result of that. After a five year break from writing, he's back to share this view with the world once again.