Fiona Deas: Think carefully about technology transport bans

Laptops now face more scrutiny on certain flights

Laptops now face more scrutiny on certain flights

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Travel bans have stirred up more than a little controversy in recent months – take, for example, President ­Donald Trump going into conflict with the US courts over his plans to ban ­travellers from certain countries.

It has been announced too that US and UK flights from selected ­countries are to enforce a total ban on large electronic devices on 
in-bound aircraft, preventing flyers from opening up their laptops for work or entertainment.

While this is undoubtedly inconvenient for thousands of passengers, the reasons behind the ban are substantiated and, in the interest of safety, a few hours unplugged seems a small price to pay.

In an increasingly mobile world this kind of ban is not unfamiliar – we have seen handheld mobile phone use banned, to ­prevent ­distractions to drivers and to ­promote road safety.

This is unequivocally a good move – taking a hand off the wheel in the interest of mindless ­chatter, or worse to dip your head and ­compose a text is a foolhardy, selfish and dangerous thing to do.

However, bluetooth headsets and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) are vital in our line of business, ­enabling our drivers to keep up to date with traffic conditions, jobs and the changing daily demands of the sector.

As it stands, these devices can be legally used, if they are employed correctly. That common sense ­philosophy means that the likes of couriers, taxis and a myriad of other businesses can stay at the top of their game.

We live in a fast-moving world and we must embrace fast-moving technology and ensure our laws reflect the changing requirements and uses. So much so, that for many companies, including our own, ruling out the regular use of PDAs would now be beyond an inconvenience. Ever tighter deadlines and increasing pressure on margins has meant little enough time or resources to think, let alone stop and communicate, for people at all levels in such industries.

Balancing the need to embrace new technology and safety is going to be a problem for governments for years to come.

While some bans are necessary, and ­others welcomed, they should always be carefully considered with discussion and planning, rather than implemented quickly and then retracted.

Communication is essential in our modern world and practical approaches to the law are a ­necessity.

Fiona Deas is co-director at Eagle Couriers, Bathgate.

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