The behaviour of Hawke's Bay drivers on some of the busiest intersections in the region has left the AA horrified.

The organisation recently conducted an informal survey on how drivers performed at four city intersections.

Drivers were spotted not wearing seatbelts and were running red lights and illegally using cellphones in both Napier and Hastings.

The intersections the AA observed were Karamu Rd and Grove Rd/ Frederick St, Hastings, Hyderabad Rd/ Carlyle St, Napier, Georges Dr/ Thackeray St Napier and Georges Dr/ Kennedy Rd, Napier.


Hawke's Bay's AA chairman Paul Michaelsen couldn't believe his eyes when looking at the results.

"We were actually horrified at how many people are flouting basic road safety rules," he said.

The surveys were conducted on weekdays during peak morning, mid-afternoon or evening traffic.

Between July and August, 43 people were caught not wearing a seatbelt, the number increased to 49 in October.

15 people, including two cyclists, ran a red light and in October a further 18 people repeated the same offence.

Four people were caught using a cell phone while driving in July/August.

October's survey found a further 10 people glued to their phones while at the wheel.

Michaelsen said the most shocking observation was the number of people not wearing seatbelts.

"If they are unfortunate enough to be in a crash they are likely to suffer much worse injuries because they haven't done one simple click.

"All these behaviours cause casualties on our roads.

"Red light running is extremely dangerous because most of us are in the habit of assuming the way is clear when we see a green light and just go without checking. Being hit side-on by a car travelling at speed through a red light can result in terrible injuries.

"I'm also sure most of us have witnessed a driver who has obviously been talking on a cellphone. At the minor end of the scale, their speed fluctuates, their lane positioning isn't quite right and they don't react smoothly in stop/start traffic.

"But their slower reactions can be fatal of something unexpected happens on the road ahead."

Napier police sided with the AA, saying that all three behaviours are common on the region's roads.

Road policing prevention manager Senior Sergeant Dan Foley said current police enforcement focused on seatbelts, driver distractions, driver impairment and speed.

"Intersections and traffic lights are riskier places and drivers need to have their full attention on their driving and what other drivers are doing. We're pleased to see other groups like the AA helping to highlight these issues."

Hawke's Bay driver Kevin Obrien said a day doesn't go by when he sees someone using their phone while driving.

"I see either phone use, texting, expired rego, tailgating, speeding or overtaking-moves that are unsafe," he said.