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Friday, May 7, 2021

Fines dialled up for using mobile phone while driving

The infringement fee for using a mobile phone while driving will increase from $80 to $150 from April 30, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today.

Minister Wood said too many people were still picking up the phone while driving.

“Police issued over 40,000 infringement notices for this offence last year,” he said.

“Driver distraction is a serious road safety issue, and inattention – including from mobile phones – can have tragic consequences.”

Between 2015 and 2019, there were 22 road deaths in New Zealand and 73 serious injuries where drivers were distracted by a mobile phone.

“This is likely to be under-reported as it can be difficult for Police to detect phone use when they attend crashes,” Mr Wood said.

“Increasing the infringement fee to $150 means it will now match similar offences. This is our way of saying Kiwis need to take this seriously and put away the phone while driving.

“I’ve had a lot of correspondence from stakeholders urging the Government to increase the fee – I’ve listened and I hope this underlines to New Zealanders the serious and potentially deadly consequences of driving while on the phone.

“Safety is one of our top transport priorities. As part of our Road to Zero plan to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 40 per cent, we will begin reviewing all road safety penalties this year to make sure they are fit for purpose.”

He said using a mobile phone while driving would continue to attract 20 demerit points – awhile ccumulating 100 demerits points from driving offences within two years would result in a loss of licence for three months.

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