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Herald Sun - Motoring - - Readers Write -

TEXT TROU­BLE

I’VE been a pas­sen­ger in a car be­side a driver busily tex­ting while driv­ing at 65km/h. Ear­lier I watched an­other young driver steer­ing with their knees as they drove off from a set of traf­fic lights, fu­ri­ously tex­ting as they moved into the traf­fic. I’ve even been a pas­sen­ger in a car when the driver texted their part­ner — ad­mit­tedly it was a sim­ple ‘‘OK’’ — but you get the point. How to solve it? Ed­u­ca­tion goes only so far, then there are stiffer fines like Sin­ga­pore, with loss of li­cence. But maybe it’s time to recog­nise mo­bile phones have about the same dan­ger level to road-users as those who use al­co­hol while driv­ing, and sim­ply ban the pres­ence of a func­tion­ing mo­bile phone in a car in the same way open con­tain­ers of grog are il­le­gal. It won’t stop the reck­less risk-tak­ers, but they flaunt all laws any­way. My vi­sion is that in the next 10 years po­lice will check car in­te­ri­ors for mo­biles in the same way as they per­form RBTs to­day.

Bruce Storey

We hear that Voda­fone is al­ready work­ing on a sys­tem to dis­able mo­biles once they are in­side a car.

RIPPED OFF

I have re­cently re­turned from the UK where I was priv­i­leged to drive the new Mercedes CLS coupe. I was in­ter­ested in per­haps buy­ing one here in Aus­tralia, un­til I was told the price. So my ques­tion to you, and I hope you can be hon­est as I have done some dig­ging, is why here in Aus­tralia are we be­ing thor­oughly ripped off on pres­tige cars? Tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the freight, tax, GST, etc, car deal­ers are still charg­ing at least 50 per cent more than their English coun­ter­parts. Is there a se­ri­ous rea­son for this, and why does nearly ev­ery­one you talk to blame the Gov­ern­ment?

Barry Irvine, email

We’re not here to de­fend the car com­pa­nies, and have been ask­ing sim­i­lar ques­tions. The an­swer we get most is the im­pact of Aus­tralia’s puni­tive Lux­ury Car Tax. But you also need to com­pare the same spec­i­fi­ca­tion level and con­sider that com­pa­nies sell a lot more cars in coun­tries like the UK and USA, which gives some sort of vol­ume dis­count. But are we happy? No, we are not.

PRIC­ING PUZ­ZLE

In your test drive of the Suzuki Swift, is the pric­ing be­fore state gov­ern­ment charges? If it is, don’t you think this is con­fus­ing as all pric­ing must/should in­clude these charges?

Lind­say Fother­ing­ham, email

Cars­guide tests are pub­lished na­tion­ally and that means the ex­act on-road costs will vary con­sid­er­ably, be­cause of things like trans­port costs, dealer fees and the in­di­vid­ual state gov­ern­ment charges, so we pub­lish the base price, be­fore on-road costs. The ACCC even agrees, giv­ing jour­nal­ists an ex­emp­tion from on-road pric­ing be­cause what we write is not ad­ver­tis­ing.

TAKE YOUR PICK

Which would be your pref­er­ence – Re­nault Koleos Priv­i­lege or Honda CR-V Lux­ury?

Mar­ion Ja­cob­son, email

The Honda has the rep­u­ta­tion and fol­low­ing, but the Re­nault is vastly un­der-val­ued and has the ad­van­tage of the me­chan­i­cal pack­age from the Nis­san X-Trail.

COM­PLI­MENT

Hav­ing read about the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, it must be a com­pli­ment to Land Rover that the G wagon is sim­i­lar to the De­fender 110 in its boxy, squar­ish lines. Also, why is it you can buy a three­wheeled mo­tor bike with­out seat belts, and reg­is­ter it?

Jim Moody, email

Most se­ri­ous off-road­ers have box­ier bod­ies to pre­vent dam­age. Those three-wheel bikes are reg­is­tered as trikes that you sit on, not cars that you sit in.

I watched ay­oung­driver steer­ing with their knees as they drove off from a set of traf­fic lights, fu­ri­ously tex­ting as they­moved­into the traf­fic

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