Canterbury drivers are the top offenders in the country when it comes to using their mobile phones and not wearing their seat belts.

Figures released recently show, since 2010, no other region has had more fines handed out to drivers flouting the mobile phone and seat belt laws.

Between 2010 and March this year, there were 15,651 mobile phone fines, and 40,920 seat belt fines given to motorists.

District Commander Superintendent John Price said the figures were high because it was a major focus of police in the area.

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"If you go looking for something you generally find it . . . due to the rebuild, we are seeing a lot of tradespeople and others driving large vehicles while using their mobile phones," he said.

He said it was not limited to tradies, but they made up a large proportion of those ticketed.

Operation Habit, a nationwide focus on seat belt safety and drivers' mobile phone use behind the wheel, was started last month to target distracting driver behaviour.

Road policing manager Inspector Al Stewart said it makes sense to try to curb some of the high numbers of people breaking those laws.

He said, nationally, there has been a sudden increase in deaths associated with restraints not being worn - from an average of 57 per year from 2012-2014 to 92 in 2015.

"We don't want to see any more broken Canterbury families and communities affected by the massive trauma of a fatal crash," he said.

Any driver caught using a hand held mobile phone while driving faces an $80 fine and 20 demerit points. Failure to wear a seat belt is a $150 fine and no demerits points.

A driver who receives more than 100 demerit points in a two-year period will have their licence suspended for three months.

For the complete list of driver offences by region visit www.police.govt.nz/about-us/publication/road-policing-driver-offence-data-january-2009-march-2016