More than 200 drivers were caught on their cellphones or not wearing a seatbelt in a Hawke's Bay road policing operation aimed at reducing the road toll this week.

A police spotter dressed in plain clothes helped officers waiting patiently around the bend on Omahu Rd identify drivers flouting the law on Friday morning.

The aim was that by the time the culprit had seen the police presence and put on their seatbelt or put down their phone, it was already too late.

"People just aren't getting the idea, that for something that takes a second to put on, it will possibly save your life," Constable Nathan Ross said.


"If you get into a serious crash, you have got a 40-60 per cent chance of surviving it, if you are wearing a seatbelt."

During the three-hour sting, 43 people were fined $150 for not wearing a seatbelt and a further 23 given an $80 fine and 20 demerit points for using a cellphone while driving.

At noon, a driver not wearing their seatbelt decided to speed off while being ushered by a police officer.

After catching up with him several hundred metres away, he blew a reading of 821 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.

It followed another three-hour operation on Tuesday, when three staff caught more than 100 seatbelt and 30 cellphone breaches.

Ross said the numbers were "atrocious".

"I look at some of the sights that we see and I think how the heck do people survive these crashes?

"And it is one simple thing; it's their seatbelt. And then we go to other crashes and they're not wearing it and unfortunately it goes the other way."

He says the sting is not about handing out tickets but more about educating people to change their behaviour.

"Car crashes do kill and it may not be your fault ... but someone else on the other side of the road may lose control and hit you."

Sergeant Kent Gilmore said policing has focused on 100km/h areas for the past two years, but now it was about targeting the urban areas, to ensure good habits are formed before speed becomes a factor.

In partnership with RoadSafe Hawke's Bay, the group was focusing on four key areas; impairment, restraints, distraction and speed.