The infringement fee for using a mobile phone whilst driving will increase from $80 to $150 on April 30.
Transport Minister Michael Wood says too many people are still picking up there phones while driving.
“Police issued more than 40,000 infringement notices for this offence last year,” says Wood.
“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,” Wood says.
“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.”
Only four 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.
Using a mobile phone while driving will continue to attract 20 demerit points — accumulating 100 demerit points from driving offences within two years results in a loss of license for three months.