Road safety boosted by increased penalty for mobile use while driving

 Road safety boosted by increased penalty for mobile use while driving

The infringement fee for using a mobile phone while driving will increase from $80 to $150 from 30 April 2021 to encourage safer driving, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today.

Michael Wood said too many people are still picking up the phone while driving.

“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.

“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.

“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,” 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.

Media contact: Tom James 027 308 6010

Notes to editor:

Who is currently receiving the infringement fee?

Based on the period 2009 to 2020:

Only 4 per cent of infringement notices are issued to those aged 19 years or younger. However, between 2015 and 2019, 44 per cent of fatal crashes where a mobile phone was a distracting factor had a driver aged between 15 and 19 years old.

15 per cent of infringement notices are issued to those aged 20-24 years, 18 per cent to those aged 25-29 years, 16 per cent to those aged 30-34 years, and nearly half (48 per cent) to those aged 35 years or older. However, between 2015 and 2019, three-quarters (75 per cent) of serious injury crashes where a mobile phone was a distracting factor involved a driver between 15 and 34 years of age.

Where does the revenue collected from infringement fees go?

As with other traffic infringements, money collected goes into the Government’s Consolidated Fund.

What other infringement fees are $150?

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,
  • and failing to drive within lane.

Tom James |Press Secretary (he/him)

Office of Hon. Michael Wood

Minister of Transport

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety

Deputy Leader of the HouseMobile: +64 27 308 6010

Email tom.james@parliament.govt.nz

Authorised by Jacinda Ardern MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: