Signs which warn of the dangers of using a mobile phone at a petrol station are based on an urban myth and are not based on any facts.
For years, petrol station owners have placed signs warning mobile phone owners to switch off their phones when refuelling. The fear is that the mobile phone will somehow cause petrol vapour to ignite.
The chief executive of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, Chris Althaus said that it is an urban myth that won’t go away.
However, for some reason Althaus said his association still backed the ban on using a mobile phone at petrol stations. We guess so that people feel safer.
Filling your car is a dangerous business and you don’t want to use your phone when you do it, he said.
“But it’s not on the basis that the device could somehow lead to a spark and ignition. That’s never been known to happen, and the physics would suggest that it’s nigh on impossible,” he told AP .
Despite the fact there has never been a case of a mobile phone starting a fire at a petrol station anywhere in the world the chief executive of the Service Station Association, Ron Bowden, said mobiles would continue to be banned from forecourts.
Scientist Karl Kruszelnicki said the myth could be traced back to an email sent to a Shell oil company office in Jamaica. The email gained credibility when it was passed on by a Shell employee.
It should have been obvious. Italians don’t get off their mobile phones for anyone and no one has exploded. Yet.