Disappointing response to safety campaign

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Taking a few seconds to buckle up or put away mobile phone distractions appears to be a life-saving message still being missed by many during a recent national road safety operation.

Operation Habit, which ran from July 25 to August 7, focused on getting people into the habit of putting on their seatbelt and putting their mobile phone away while driving.

"While many of the thousands of drivers stopped by police across the country were found doing the right thing, which is fantastic, offsetting this was a significant and disappointing number of drivers still not doing the basics to keep themselves and others safe," National Road Policing manager, Superintendent Steve Greally said in a press release this morning.

"Putting on your seatbelt and removing the distraction of your mobile phone only takes seconds and could save yours and someone else's life, so really should be a no-brainer," Mr Greally said.

Despite this, 2,727 people nationwide were issued notices for wearing no restraint - while another 1,162 people were ticketed for using their mobile phone while driving.

"Police considers the number of notices issued disappointing.

"We'd be delighted not to have to issue any notices at all, as it would show everyone was driving safely and responsibly, and deaths and injuries on our roads would fall.

"Unfortunately it shows that some people still aren't taking seriously the real risks associated with making these potentially life-altering choices behind the wheel.

From January to July this year, 50 people killed in crashes were not wearing a seatbelt.

"That's a shocking statistic but this isn't about numbers, it's about people.

"This includes the grieving families and friends left behind," Mr Greally said.

"It takes two seconds to put on a seatbelt and that simple act can save your life.

"We want our roads to be a safe place for everyone, but we all need to work together to make it happen."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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