Indi MP Helen Haines criticised for Facebook video of driving

UNDER FIRE: A screenshot from the video update Helen Haines posted to Facebook, which showed her driving and speaking to a filming passenger.
UNDER FIRE: A screenshot from the video update Helen Haines posted to Facebook, which showed her driving and speaking to a filming passenger.

A federal MP put lives at risk and set a bad example by filming a video while driving, believes a road safety campaigner.

Vicki Richardson, whose daughter Brooke died in 2012 after sending a text while driving, said the video shocked her.

She said although Helen Haines clearly wasn't holding the phone or taking the video herself, her actions were still dangerous.

"You just have to have someone stop in front of her or step out in front, and it would have been a great concern," she said.

"It's disappointing. As much as she's not holding the phone she's still focusing on what she's talking about not the road.

"It's a poor decision, as much as she's just a normal person she is also in the face of the community and needs to think about her actions."

On Sunday, the video was posted to Dr Haines' official Facebook page which showed the independent member driving while talking to a camera being held by someone in the car's passenger seat.

Dr Haines took her eyes off the road to glance at the camera repeatedly throughout the two-minute video.

Commenters were quick to criticise the MPs actions, accusing her of setting a bad example, while others defended Dr Haines actions, saying it was no different to talking to someone in the passenger seat.

Just over an hour after the video was posted, it was deleted, with the Helen Haines MP Facebook page apologising and saying commenters had made a "fair point".

On Monday, Dr Haines told The Border Mail she had heard people's concerns, taken the video down and would not film a video while driving again.

CONCERNS: Helen Haines and husband Phil Haines photographed outside Parliament in Canberra ahead of her maiden speech last year. Picture: MARK JESSER

CONCERNS: Helen Haines and husband Phil Haines photographed outside Parliament in Canberra ahead of her maiden speech last year. Picture: MARK JESSER

But the MP for Indi stopped short of commenting on whether her actions were dangerous.

"I would never deliberately do anything dangerous," Dr Haines said.

"I was in the car travelling to Canberra with my husband and I really just wanted to update people to say parliament is about to sit and what my priorities were for the coming weeks.

"We all talk to our passengers while driving, I was talking to my passenger while driving and he was filming."

A NSW police spokeswoman said it did not appear the driver in the video had committed any offence but "the risk of distraction continues to be a key factor in serious injury and fatal crashes on NSW roads, and we would encourage this driver, and others, to take extra care."

This story Road safety campaigner says MP's driving sets 'bad example' first appeared on The Border Mail.