Cellphone driving blitz nets 800

File photo / Herald on Sunday
File photo / Herald on Sunday

More than 800 people have been caught in a police clampdown on drivers using cellphones, and thousands more busted without their seat belts on.

A two-week police blitz targeting drivers using mobile phones resulted in more than 800 notices being issued and a 119 per cent increase in offences.

The blitz, which started on October 25, also included a focus on safety belts, with police issuing 3042 notices to drivers or their passengers for failing to wear safety belts.

National manager of road policing Superintendent Paula Rose said it was "disappointing'' that many people were still talking or texting on cellphones while driving.

"I think drivers do understand the dangers, they just can't be bothered to put their safety and that of other road users before this one phone call. They fall back that old chestnut - 'it won't happen to me' and take the chance.

"We keep on saying drivers need to consider their time behind the wheel as time when they need every faculty on full alert.

Driving is a complex task and there is no room for complacency at all.''

More than 15,000 offence notices have been issued nationwide since legislation banning mobile phone use while driving was introduced two years ago.

Ms Rose said it she wasn't expecting the high number of people caught without their seatbelt clicked in.

"We have very high wearing rates in New Zealand and so I am very surprised to see these results.

'The dangers of travelling in vehicles without restraints are very well documented. Drivers and their passengers can become projectiles and there are many drivers who have been killed by their passengers flying around the inside of the car in a crash.''

She said police staff were sick of picking up the pieces from the roads where people have been thrown from vehicles and killed, when they knew that such a small thing as buckling up the safety belt could have made all the difference.

"It is the single most effective road safety device invented and seems so obvious.

"Wearing your safety belt and keeping your phone off when you are driving are two small and very simple things but they can make all the difference between life and death.''

- APNZ

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