Distraction and failing to wear seat belts continues to be a serious road safety risk in the Western Bay of Plenty.

A recent police operation found Tauranga drivers were choosing to risk their lives and those on the road with them by using mobile phones while driving and not using their seat belts.

This week Western Bay of Plenty police focused on road users travelling on Turret Road, Tauranga.

Forty-nine drivers were seen using their mobile phones, and a further eight drivers were not wearing their seat belts.


"Drivers need to be aware of the very real risk that distractions represent, said acting sergeant Aaron Williams of the road safety team.

"Especially talking, texting, and checking emails on mobile phones while driving.

"Put your passengers and other road users first and put the phone away."

Drivers using a mobile phone while driving, should expect to be stopped, he said.

Penalties were an $80 infringement fee and 20 demerit points.

Any driver who earned 100 or more demerit points in two-years would have their licence suspended for three months.

Drivers also needed to take the time to buckle up.

Between January and March 2016, 41 per cent of vehicle occupants killed were unrestrained, he said.

"This translates to 28 people whose deaths may have otherwise been prevented had they used a seat belt.

"Driving requires your complete attention, you need to keep control of your vehicle as well as maintaining an awareness of your surroundings and potential hazards."

"Make sure you wear your seat belt and remember that a moment's distraction can have serious consequences.

"No notification, text or call is worth dying for," said Mr Williams.