Police are aware of reports of a woman letting her a toddler steer her car on an Auckland motorway while she looked at her phone.
Photos were taken and posted online in a South Auckland community Facebook page yesterday showing the woman in the driver's seat of a blue car with a toddler on her lap.
The photos, posted by a woman who wished to remain anonymous, appear to show the toddler's hands on the steering wheel and the woman looking down at her mobile phone.
The incident reportedly took place yesterday afternoon in the Manukau section of the motorway.
"The child was jumping around on the front seat playing with his mother and then he moved over to the drivers seat," the woman wrote.
"The driving started to get a bit crazy and when they changed lanes I got along side her and saw the kid driving the car and mum was texting on her phone."
Commenters on the post were sharply critical of the female driver, saying she was endangering both herself, her child and other motorists, while some also said the incident should have warranted a call to police immediately.
'PUT AWAY THE PHONE' - POLICE SEEK INFORMATION AND ISSUE WARNING
Sergeant Andrew Meale of Auckland Motorways Police said the incident was possibly not reported to them at the time. He asked anyone with information on who the driver could be to call police at 09 488 8750.
Information can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
He said the incident is a reminder that drivers need to ensure that children are properly restrained in cars.
"Wearing your seatbelt and making sure your children are properly restrained will keep you and your children safe, as even a low speed impact can cause to great deal of harm to an unrestrained child," he said.
"Keeping children restrained at all times when they are travelling in a vehicle also reduces the risk of the driver getting distracted, which could potentially pose a risk to the safety of other road users.
"Distractions were responsible for 24 per cent of fatal crashes throughout Tamaki Makaurau in 2017 - nobody wants to share the road with a driver who is distracted.
"When you're driving, your focus should be on the road and getting everybody in your car to the destination safely and also enabling other road users to get to their destinations safely.
"Put the phone away and keep your eyes on the road, this includes when you've stopped at traffic lights or when traffic is slow.
"We also want to urge motorists who witness anyone driving dangerously to report it to police at the earliest opportunity - but most importantly when it is safe to do so.
"It is never safe for a driver to take photographs from a vehicle in active traffic lanes."