Dangerous habits return
Drivers appear to be reverting to old dangerous habits gabbing and texting on cellphones, police say.
Police ticketed drivers with more than $2 million in fines, including $44,000 in the south, nationally since the Land Transport Road User Amendment rule banned the use of handheld mobile phones while driving, in November 2009.
Almost as many drivers were caught illegally using cellphones in Queenstown as in Invercargill, since legislation was introduced three years ago.
Southern district acting road policing manager Steve Larking said the legislation was not a revenue-generating ban but focused on improving road safety.
Since 2009 there was a change in driver behaviour but this had probably waned a bit creating a risk, he said.
‘‘We know that cellphone use while driving is dangerous. In our area in the southern district we have had people killed.’’
Drivers in Invercargill paid $22,000 in fines after being caught illegally talking or texting on cellphones. Official Information Act figures revealed the number of people caught in Queenstown, Central Otago, Southland district and Invercargill.
notices were issued since 2009, generating $17,000 in fines, 56 were issued in Central Otago, or $4480, and 279 tickets were issued in Invercargill, generating $22,320.
In the southern district, 1464 tickets were issued in three years, equivalent to $117,120.
Little green fingers: Children at the Queenstown Library holiday programme with the beans they planted on Thursday with the help of SBS business development officer Honor Mathieson, centre rear, and librarian Niki Mason, centre right.