Waitemata logs highest number of mobile phone abusers, Cantabrians worst for drink-driving, not using seat belts
More drivers were caught by speed cameras and on their mobile phones in Waitemata than anywhere else in the country last year, a Herald analysis of traffic offence data shows.
The Waitemata police district covers the area north of Auckland from New Lynn across the North Shore and Devonport to Mangawhai.
Cantabrians were the biggest drink-drivers and seat belt law flouters and received the most speeding tickets from police officers.
While the data, released by police last month, showed a national downwards trend of drink-driving since 2009, more speed tickets were issued last year than ever before and there was also a spike in the number of people breaking seat belt and mobile phone laws.
The Automobile Association said Kiwis were still not getting the message about road safety and more needed to be done.
Drivers in Counties-Manukau and Auckland central featured in the top end of offence numbers for drink-driving, using cellphones while driving, flouting seatbelt laws and camera-issued speeding tickets.
Police national road policing manager Superintendent Steve Greally said Canterbury's numbers were so high due to four previous police districts being absorbed into two, which meant the district had a higher population than others.
"So, when you average out the offence rates per 10,000 people, proportionally it is comparable with offending rates in other metro police districts," he said.
"Rather than compare the offending rates between different districts, police find it more useful to look at patterns and trends within each community and develop strategies and target resources accordingly.
"The infringement data reflects the most common high risk driver behaviours that feature in fatal and serious crashes attended by our staff every day.
"That's why police, supported by its road safety partners, are continuing to focus on speeding, drink and drug impaired driving, distraction and other risky behaviour on the roads."
AA spokesman Dylan Thomsen said while a downwards trend of drink-driving was good news, people were still not getting the message about mobile phones and seat belts. He also questioned the ability of current systems for catching drugged drivers and stopping speeding drivers.
"Until we can get people to understand that you are four times more likely to be involved in a crash when you are on your phone, it is going to be very hard to get all these people out there to stop using their phone.
"At the moment people know that there is a very low chance of being caught, that it is illegal isn't doing enough to get them to change their behaviour."
When it came to seat belt laws, 58,157 people were caught - up from 50,845 in 2013 and 46,820 in 2012 - but obviously not being deterred, he said.
"Last year one in four of the people who died in crashes, that were in vehicles, were not wearing seatbelts."
The relatively low number of drug offences - just 198 for 2014 - was also concerning, he said.
"It just shows how little is being done to really keep drugged drivers off the road because everyone knows ... there are thousands of people who get stoned and get behind the wheel."