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GPS-on-phones driving ban in doubt, says TomTom

28 Sep 2009

Despite an article on stuff.co.nz this morning reporting that all GPS-enabled phones will be banned under the Road User Amendment Rule 2009 that bans cell phone use beginning in November, a spokesperson for TomTom said the actual amendment makes no mention of GPS on mobile phones.

TomTom released its TomTom for iPhone app in New Zealand last month.

Chris Kearney, Marketing Manager for TomTom ANZ, said in regards to the TomTom for iPhone app: “As far as we’re concerned there’s no impact on the TomTom for iPhone because if we go directly to the Land Transport legislation there’s nothing that mentions GPS in that at all.”

The legislation states that drivers “must not, while driving a vehicle, create, send, or read a text message on a mobile phone or make, receive, or terminate a telephone call on a mobile phone or use a mobile phone in any other way”, though calls may be made if the phone does not require a user to hold or manipulate the phone while making the call.

Kearney emphasised that users should use proper safety techniques and use a holder when using the TomTom for iPhone app.

“We’ve always pushed the fact that you should use this device in a holder in the car,” he said. “We have one available in New Zealand coming very, very soon.”

[UPDATE] Transport Minister Steven Joyce yesterday announced that the law would be amended to exclude mounted or cradled mobile phone GPS systems and applications.