Too many Kiwi driv­ers are flout­ing mo­bile law

Matamata Chronicle - - Motoring -

Al­most half the coun­try’s mo­torists think they can get away with us­ing mo­bile phones while driv­ing.

Talk­ing and tex­ting while be­hind the wheel has been il­le­gal since Novem­ber 2009, but new re­search by the Min­istry of Trans­port has re­vealed driv­ers still have lit­tle fear of get­ting caught.

The min­istry’s an­nual Pub­lic At­ti­tudes to Road Safety Sur­vey for 2013 found 47 per cent of the 1670 people in­ter­viewed thought it was un­likely they would be pinged for us­ing a hand- held phone while driv­ing.

It comes af­ter As­so­ciate Trans­port Min­is­ter Michael Wood­house said re­cently that too many people were flout­ing the law.

‘‘Us­ing a cell­phone while driv- ing may seem a mi­nor of­fence, on the face of it, but for some New Zealan­ders it will be the dif­fer­ence be­tween a long life or an early death.’’

In June, a sep­a­rate min­istry study mon­i­tored 29,000 driv­ers across the coun­try and found one in ev­ery 40 used a mo­bile phone while driv­ing. When their cars were stuck in traf­fic, that num­ber in­creased to one in ev­ery 20.

Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion spokesman Mike Noon said cur­rent at­ti­tudes to­ward mo­bile phones in cars were con­cern­ing, but not sur­pris­ing.

The as­so­ci­a­tion had wanted an ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign on the dan­gers of mo­bile phones in cars to ac­com­pany the ban in 2009.

‘‘We want people think­ing that us­ing cell­phones while driv­ing is putting people at sig­nif­i­cant risk.’’

Be­cause the com­pli­ance rate was so low, more ed­u­ca­tion was needed be­fore talk turned to in­creas­ing the penalty for mo­bile phone use, he said.

Get­ting caught cur­rently re­sults in an $ 80 fine and 20 demerit points.

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