Whanganui Police are warning drivers to stay alert this month as they begin a crackdown on distracted motorists taking to the road.
Sergeant Colin Wright, officer in charge of the Whanganui Roading Policing Group, said police will be spending the next month focusing on driver impairment, particularly when it comes to mobile phones.
"The most prevalent distraction is drivers using their mobile phones while driving," Wright said.
"Using a mobile phone is wide and varied. It includes changing music, texting, checking a map, answering a call or having it in your hand for any other reason not already mentioned."
Wright said the reason the law exists is simple.
"Using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous. Research has shown that cognitive performance is significantly decreased while using a mobile phone while driving."
Wright said almost every modern car is now equipped with Bluetooth technology, allowing motorists to continue using their device's essential functions without having to directly look at it.
"If your vehicle is equipped with Bluetooth then learn how to pair the phone," he said.
"Several drivers have been stopped recently who were holding their phone in their hand and hadn't connected to their Bluetooth in their vehicles. They were issued infringement notices."
Using a mobile phone while driving is an offence, and carries a fine of $80 as well as 20 demerit points.
The offence includes not only making a phone call while driving, but also sending or reading a text message, email, video message or any other form of communication.
Wright said his officers will be out in force, looking for motorists using their devices on the road.
"Our patrols will be looking out for drivers using their phones and will be stopping anyone they see."