Kyra is the Rotorua Daily Post's police, emergency and court reporter.

Police sting nabs drivers on phones

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CRACKDOWN: Rotorua police are cracking down on drivers using cellphones and not wearing seat belts as part of a nationwide sting, dubbed 'Operation Habit'. Pictured Sergeant Dave Hamilton. PHOTO/FILE
CRACKDOWN: Rotorua police are cracking down on drivers using cellphones and not wearing seat belts as part of a nationwide sting, dubbed 'Operation Habit'. Pictured Sergeant Dave Hamilton. PHOTO/FILE

Days into a special operation, Rotorua police have issued 100 per cent more tickets for drivers using their cellphones than the did last week.

Drivers on phones and unrestrained drivers and passengers are two focuses of the crackdown which started this week and will run until next Saturday - with random checkpoints happening around the city.

The crackdown is part of a nationwide sting dubbed Operation Habit.

Sergeant Dave Hamilton of Rotorua's road policing unit said the operation was going "very well".

Police had so far issued 10 tickets to people using their cellphones while driving and 16 to people without seat belts on.

"Looking at figures this week we have had 100 per cent increase of people being caught on the phone while driving.

"The feedback we are getting is positive, even though we are issuing people with tickets we don't get many people arguing because they know they shouldn't be doing it.

He said the 16 tickets for people not wearing seat belts was slightly up on last week.

He said it had been a tough week as the rain made it hard to see through window screens.

"This operation is hugely important, any road user likes to feel safe and we are relying on everybody else to comply."

Police figures show in the 12 months to March, 1786 tickets were issued in Rotorua for
failure to use restraints and 405 for use of cellphones.

Anyone caught using a mobile phone while driving faces an $80 infringement fee and 20
demerit points.

A fine of $150 can be issued to those not wearing a seat belt. Children under 15 are the responsibility of the driver and the fine is payable by the driver. People over 15 are responsible for their own fine.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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