Blitz on mobiles

Northland drivers flagrantly flouting the cellphone ban may be in for a surprise with next week's major police crackdown.

The blitz starts on Monday and is part of the nationwide week-long campaign which aims to remind drivers about the law change banning mobile phone use while driving three years ago.

In that three years, Northland police have issued 361 infringement notices to drivers on their phones, who face an $80 fine and 20 demerit points.

Northland Road Policing Manager Inspector Murray Hodson said: "We will be out in force and all drivers detected using cellphones while driving will be stopped and action taken."

Mr Hodson said research indicates that use of cellphones while driving increases the chances of having a crash.

Drivers are allowed to use hands-free mobile phones, provided they are completely voice-activated, unless they are securely mounted, in which case the driver can operate them infrequently and briefly.

Drivers who do not have hands-free phones have to pull over to make, receive or end calls and texting is banned under all circumstances while driving.

During the blitz, which finishes on Sunday December 2, police will also be checking to make sure that all vehicle occupants are wearing seat belts.

Mr Hodson said Northland has one of the lowest compliance rates when it comes to belting up.

"Northland's road toll currently stands at 14, double the number of deaths our roads last year and we don't want to see any more people die or get seriously injured."

- Northern Advocate

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