Police blitz catches shocking number of drivers

By Amy Shanks

A police and Roadsafe Hawke's Bay campaign to spot motorists texting while driving has revealed another shocking statistic.

While 10 people were snapped with a phone in hand during Friday's 2-hour blitz, many more were not wearing seatbelts or failed to have children properly restrained in the car.

"We were out there to monitor people texting, but we got a lot more people who were not wearing seatbelts. The numbers were alarming," RoadSafe Hawke's Bay regional manager Linda Anderson said. "Seatbelts are certainly one of our key priorities, there's no rhyme or reason why people should not be wearing one. It's certainly a huge concern.

"From our observations, we also came across children who were far too young not to be in proper restraints."

An accident last Wednesday, where a 3-year-old-boy was thrown from the back seat of a BMW after it collided with a truck near the Meeanee overbridge, should have been a wake-up call to parents but people were still not getting the message.

"It's increasingly frustrating, considering it was so well publicised," Ms Anderson said. "I personally saw children who were far too young in the front seat, with an adult seatbelt on.

"From a child's perspective, there's so much support to get a correctly fitted child restraint, there's no excuse. A child has no choice, it's the parent's responsibility."

If people could not afford the proper restraints, there was help out there and Plunket was a good place to start.

Hastings roading police Sergeant Clint Adamson said people who failed to put on a seatbelt faced a $150 fine, while those texting while driving paid $80 and received demerit points.

Routine checks such as the one carried out on Friday were a regular occurrence and police were always on the lookout.

"We do them from time to time but the public can expect to be caught out if they do not follow the rules," Mr Adamson said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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