7 Feb 2014

Cell phone drivers think they're OK

9:04 pm on 7 February 2014

Police say there is not an issue with enforcing the text-and-drive ban despite new research suggesting almost half of New Zealand's motorists have little fear of getting caught.

Cell phone.

Photo: PHOTO NZ

A Ministry of Transport survey found 47 percent of the 1670 people interviewed thought it was unlikely they would be pinged using a hand-held cell phone or texting while driving.

Using a cell phone while driving has been illegal since November 2009 and the New Zealand Transport Agency says police have handed out about 40,000 tickets since.

The agency's acting national road policing manager, Inspector Peter McKennie, says it is clear motorists still have not got the message that using cell phones while driving is dangerous.

Mr McKennie says the biggest improvement can be made by adjusting people's attitudes.

A blitz on cell phone use is not being planned at the moment, he says.

The Automobile Association said the survey's result is not surprising. Spokesperson Dylan Thomsen said public education needed to be increased as many people did not recognise the risks of texting or calling someone while driving.