The son of a motorist who died while texting says harsher penalties are needed to deter people from using their phones while driving.

Eliot Jessep's plea comes as new figures reveal motorists still aren't getting the message, with nearly 50 lives lost and 180,000 people fined for using their phone while driving in the past decade.

Police figures show more than $14 million in fines was issued to 180,170 people in the 10 years since it became illegal to use your phone while driving.

Provisional data from the Ministry of Transport shows 46 people died in crashes between 2009 and

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