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Friday, December 4

Police praise drivers for reduction in cell phone use while driving


Police have released provisional figures for offence notices issued since the introduction of the Land Transport (Road User) Amendment Rule 2009 which included a ban on the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving.

The legislation came into effect on 1st November and the new Police figures show that nationally, only 275 offences have been detected.

"We have been surprised and pleased to see the way the driving public has really taken up this message around avoiding driving while using a mobile phone," said National Manager - Road Policing Superintendent Paula Rose today.

"While we have been using this month to remind drivers about the new legislation, we have found that the vast majority of drivers understand the risks involved and have chosen to make the change themselves.

It is still early days yet but I am very confident that this pattern will continue although when the final numbers are processed , we may see a rise in numbers."

Although the new rules will allow the use of hands-free mobile phones, Police recommends that drivers minimise the potential for distraction by switching phones off while driving, or pulling over to make or receive calls. It is only legal to use a mobile phone to make, receive or end a call when driving if:

• the driver does not have to hold or manipulate the phone to do so (i.e. phone is completely voice activated), or
• the mobile phone is securely mounted to the vehicle and the driver manipulates the phone infrequently and briefly.

The rule does not allow drivers to create, send, or read text messages under any circumstances.

"I would like also to remind drivers that if they choose to pull over to use a mobile phone they must do so in a safe and legal place. Pulling over on a motorway to use a mobile phone is dangerous and illegal. I have found that it is easier to turn the phone off while driving - it removes the temptation completely," said Superintendent Rose.

Offences by District:
Northland - 5
Waitemata - 58
Auckland - 55
Counties/Manukau - 18
Waikato - 7
Bay of Plenty - 25
Eastern - 5
Central- 6
Wellington - 36
Tasman - 12
Canterbury - 26
Southern - 22