Police have given cautious approval to a campaign by council controlled Auckland Transport that encourages road users to publicly shame those who use their smartphones while driving. RNZ reports-
Road policing manager for Auckland Police, Inspector Regan James, said police supported the campaign, as it reiterated that using a smartphone while driving was against the law.
A “gentle nudge” is how Auckland Transport has described its campaign, saying that is what’s needed – along with some humour – to highlight the dangers of using smartphones while driving.
Campaign manager, Fascist Rob Pitney, said it was aimed at getting through to passengers as well.
“We’re just giving people a friendly way of suggesting to perhaps to the person driving that it’s not acceptable behaviour to be using a cellphone while they’re driving. And, so we’re giving people a way of … bringing attention to it without them thinking they’re being got at too much, so it’s being done in a very friendly tone.”
Yes, shaming people is just being “friendly”.
A lawyer who specialises in driving offences, Karen Harding, said the campaign highlighted poor policing efforts.
“Name and shaming isn’t justice at all. If you want people to not use their phones, you need to enforce the law and prosecute.. and just simply have more people out there catching people and make it known… the same way speeding is dealt with.”
And Karen is perfectly correct. Its either the law or its not the law. Disobeying it has a legal consequence and a practical consequence or it does not. If the law is generally unenforceable, and only selectively applied, then its a poor law and should be repealed. Fascist campaigns to shame citizens are no solution. Not in a civilised country anyway.