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