Mobile phones and driving in New Zealand

I wholeheartedly agree that it should be against the law to use a mobile phone whilst driving – additional divided attention when driving is not safe: and I can say that having worked on many road traffic incident cases where mobile phones were contributory to crashes.

Who thinks that the penalties as they stand (the law comes into effect in November 2009) will be sufficient to stop people texting and phoning whilst driving, even though 20 demerit points form part of that punishment? The UK government started off with a 50 pound fine – made no difference. As soon as it became a criminal offence, the rate of offending dropped significantly. It is now acceptable not to text/phone and drive in England. The fact that it is a criminal offence means that drivers, particularly employees who are regularly contacted by their office, have a good reason not to answer the phone whereas before it was a criminal offence they felt obliged to answer.

I hope that the threat of 20 demerit points is enough to put people off in New Zealand but I guess only time will tell.


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