Press Release – New Zealand Police
Would drivers be so keen to use their mobile phone if they had to call a family to tell them a loved one had been killed in a road crash?Leave the phone alone
Would drivers be so keen to use their mobile phone if they had to call a family to tell them a loved one had been killed in a road crash?
That’s the question being asked of drivers in Central District during a two week operation to remind people that using a mobile phone whilst driving is both dangerous and illegal.
November 1 will mark two years since the introduction of legislation banning the use of mobile phones for texting and talking by motorists on the move.
The law change has modified a lot of behaviour, but more than 7,000 offence notices have been issued nationwide and there is a risk that people return to old habits after the initial publicity around new legislation dies down. In Central District 327 drivers have been fined $80 and received 20 demerit points.
The law does allow for hands-free mobile phones but the recommendation is for drivers to remove temptation and the potential for distraction completely by switching phones off while driving.
It is only legal to make a call whilst driving if:
• the driver does not have to hold or manipulate the phone to do so (i.e. phone is completely voice activated), or
• the mobile phone is securely mounted to the vehicle and the driver manipulates the phone infrequently and briefly
“Contacting a family to tell them that someone they love has been involved in a serious crash or killed by a distracted driver is a call that no police officer wants to make,” said Central District’s Road Policing Manager, Acting Inspector Jeanette Park. “Our message to drivers is simple – when you reach for your phone, think of the calls police officers have to make. Your call won’t have the same urgency but it could cause the same heartbreak. Wait until you are safe and stationary.”
The national operation runs from 25 October until 6 November and police staff will also be focusing on the use of restraints in vehicles.
“Seatbelts save lives and unrestrained children and pets moving around in the vehicle are a distraction which can be as potentially lethal as the use of a mobile phone. We just want to remind people that driving is not something to be treated lightly,” said Acting Inspector Jeanette Park.