Only 30,000 Kiwi drivers caught illegally using their phones while driving in one year

Seven years into driver cellphone ban, record numbers of motorists are being ticketed for flouting the law.

The latest figures come as 2017 road toll has soared past the total for the same period in recent years. It now stands at almost 300.

Police figures show 28,896 drivers were ticketed for using their cellphones behind the wheel in 2016. That is more than three times as many the 8232 ticketed handed out in 2010, which was the first full year after the cellphone ban came in.

Cellphones have turned into smart phones that do a lot more than calls and texting, so it is no surprise that there is a recorded increase.  

Greally said it was difficult to say exactly how many crashes were caused by drivers using phones, as only 4 or 5 per cent of people who crashed later admitted to using a phone at the time.

“When we have a fatal and put in an in-depth investigation, we find a lot more people are using their phones.”

Automobile Association spokesman Dylan Thomsen agreed the data on cellphone use from non-fatal crashes was unreliable.

New Zealand Transport Agency spokesman Harry Wilson said drivers needed to turn their phones off or put them in flight mode before getting behind the wheel.

“It is a sign of the time. People are really connected to their phones at all times.”

Time to fess up readers.  Have you used your phone while driving over the last 12 months?

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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