I like a surprise but there were none to be had when I read about a recent police blitz aimed at unearthing drivers who were somehow unaware there had been a law amendment some time back barring the use of cellphones while behind the wheel and on the move.

The local police crews picked up 35 drivers who had either been using a mobile device or not had the seatbelt on.

No real surprise there as I see at least one a day somewhere.

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And they were nabbed within the space of just two hours.

Again, no surprise really.

The figures show that across Hawke's Bay about 10 people a week are caught and pinged for using a cellphone while driving.

Tip of the iceberg I suspect.

For a lot of people it is clearly kind of a tough habit to break.

If the phone goes, answer it ... even if you're halfway through a roundabout or approaching a school.

Hey, it could be that call you were waiting for.

So yep, you can either pull over as soon as it's safe to do so or pick it up and say "gidday".

A lot of people, obviously, are inclined toward the latter and again, no surprise, to see that since 2010 the number of offences involving drivers texting or talking on their mobiles has trebled.

That figure I daresay equals the sales of these continually evolving devices so I can only assume that as sales continue to rise so too will the numbers of people who decide to use them while carrying out a task which demands concentration and observance.

But hey, it's like trying to persuade some people that using the indicators to indicate what direction they are intending to take is a good idea.

Yesterday, during the seven or eight-minute drive to town I came across two drivers who appeared unable to find the page in their owner's manuals that lays out information to show where the indicator stalk is and how to use it.

Seems simple to me but hey, maybe their vehicles came without a handbook?

Or maybe their memories of how important it was to use them correctly during their driver's licence test have now simply dissolved.

But the use of cellphones while steering a tonne or three of metal is the big worry.

I once spotted a young guy who was waiting for the lights to go green and he appeared to be quite intent on solving whatever puzzle he was engaged in on his phone, or mini tablet or whatever it was.

And when the lights did go green he was of course prompted to move by the sound of a car horn behind him ... mine.

However, like many who tut-tut and shake their heads at the waywardness of some text and talking travellers I was once guilty of this, and was reminded (and remedied) in a most colourful fashion.

I was driving out Park Island way and the cellphone began to chirp.

Not many cars around and the road was a great gentle curve so I picked it up and was cheerfully greeted by a former member of the police crew who was then working in a sort of advisory role.

We had a quick natter about nothing in particular until he asked if I was driving.

I sort of stalled and he said "look in your rear view mirror".

Which I did and there he was - talking into a dash-mounted phone and hands firmly on the wheel ... and grinning like a hyena.

"Naughty naughty," he chuckled.

Caught, and boy did I get to hear about it the next time I called by the station.

That was about four years ago ... never done it since and will never do it again.

I guess if there was any shred of a silver lining to this whole situation it's maybe the fact that the fines involved end up drawing in a million or so a year across the land, but that's kind of cold comfort really.

The basic problem here (apart from the fact that people defy the law and decide to do it) is that there is no real deterrent.

They get hit with a couple of hundred bucks and so what?

Now if that figure were to be rejigged and turned into, say, $750 or $900, then I suspect a great many of those ringing phones on the passenger seat would be simply left to ring.

Or hey, maybe the errant cellphone user's vehicle would be immediately impounded for seven days.

Now I think that could shift some mindsets.