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Cell phone use putting road users at risk

Hon Michael Woodhouse

Associate Minister of Transport

6 December 2013       Media Statement 


Cell phone use putting road users at risk 

Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse is urging drivers to put their cell phones away after a survey of 29,000 moving vehicles found one in every 40 drivers using a cell phone.

The Ministry of Transport survey found half of those using a cell phone while driving had a phone held to their head and the other half appeared to be texting.

“These results are of grave concern as the consequences of using a cell phone while driving can be disastrous. We’ve seen some high-profile crashes in recent times where cell phone use has been a contributor to the crash.

“Using a cell phone while driving 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.

“As we head into the summer holiday period, it’s important that road users obey the law. Drivers wanting to respond to a call or text should either pull over, or not take the call,” Mr Woodhouse says.

The survey was carried out at 52 sites around New Zealand in June and also found that when vehicles were stationary in a queue, the number of drivers using a cell phone increased to one in every 20 vehicles. Most of those were texting.

“The Government banned cell phone use while driving three years ago. While the law is proving to be a deterrent, there are still too many people flouting the rules and needlessly putting themselves and others in danger,” says Mr Woodhouse.

In November 2012, Police carried out a week-long blitz on drivers using cell phones to raise awareness of the dangers. Each infringement carries 20 demerit points – 100 points within two years means loss of licence for three months.

Further information available at: www.transport.govt.nz/news/motivate/land/one-in-40-drivers-using-cell-phones/

ENDS

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