Fines for mobile phone use while driving will increase by $70 on April 30

The fine for using a mobile phone while driving will increase from $80 to $150 at the end of the month as thousands of infringement notices were given out last year.

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Donna Govorko says fines are a short-term solution, and a change in the culture of cellphone use is needed. Source: Breakfast

Transport Minister, Michael Wood made the announcement today, saying the new fine will now match similar offences.

"This is our way of saying Kiwis need to take this seriously and put away the phone while driving," he said.

“Police issued over 40,000 infringement notices for this offence last year. Driver distraction is a serious road safety issue, and inattention – including from mobile phones – can have tragic consequences."

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

Also during this period, 44 per cent of fatal crashes where a mobile phone was a distracting factor had a driver aged between 15 and 19 years old. Those figures rose to 75 per cent in the 15-34 year old age group.

“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,” Michael Wood said.

Using a mobile phone while driving will continue to attract 20 demerit points - accumulating 100 demerits points from driving offences within two years results in a loss of licence for three months.

Examples of offences that have a $150 fine associated include:

• failing to allow impeded traffic to pass
• use of lane to right of centre line unless passing
• unauthorised use of a special vehicle lane,
• unsafe passing
• failing to move left before turning left
• driving on a lawn adjacent to the road
• driving too close
• failing to give way
• failing to stop at a stop sign
• failing to drive within lane