11 September 2009
Texting on a hand-held mobile phone while driving will be illegal from November.
The full story:
In the olden (1960s) days, it'd take you the best part of a morning to drove up to Warkworth (north of Auckland).
These days - with the flash motorway they've built - you can do it under an hour.
AND. They've built a tunnel that takes transit traffic away from the main drag through the beach town of Orewa.
Cuts 4km and 6 minutes off your trip.
Being NZ, all very high tech with number plate recognition and stuff and you can set up an account from which the $2 are deducted every time you use the tunnel.
Great if you're a commuter. Not so if you're a occasional user.
And there are a LOT of occasional users.
And this is where it gets tricky.
You can pay via the interweb either in advance or retrospectively within 3 days.
Unless of course your journey doesn't show up on their computer, which they put down to "processing delays".
Then you have to call someone and try and sort it out.
Much easier, then, to stop at the self-service kiosk in the lay-by before you enter the tunnel and pay your $2 there.
Along with all the other "occasionals" looking for a parking space and queuing up at the 2 (count them....2) kiosks.
Into which you have to key your registration, confirm that it's a silver 1997 Honda CRV, that I am who I am and that I live where I live.
You do this by pressing an unlabelled green button on the touch screen, which is what I explained to the old(er than me even) gent who was having a bit of trouble.
"What 'green button'" he wailed. "I'm colour-blind"
And all the time - while wasting AT LEAST the 6 minutes that I'm meant to be saving by going through this rigmarole - I'm thinking "Why ON EARTH can't I text my registration to a Transport Agency number, they whack $2 on my phone bill and send me a receipt to my mobile"
I understand they're introducing it in November.
Ah. Now what was that about hands-free...?.