Texting and driving: are the rules adequate?

Photos and video: Daniel Hines/SunLive.

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With the number of fatal crashes increasing on New Zealand roads, SunLive asked members of the public in Mount Maunganui what their thoughts are on texting and driving, and if the current penalty for offenders is adequate.

Currently, offenders are penalised with an $80 fine and 20 demerit points for texting while driving.

One member of the public says the penalties are in place, however they are not enforced.

“You’ve only got to stand on a corner like this to see how many people have their eyes down looking at their phone rather than where they are going.

“I doubt there is many people who actually get caught for it.”

Another member of the public says he has experienced the dangers of texting in driving first hand after a ute was gravitating towards him near Athenree.

“He was coming naturally towards me, and fortunately he looked up and corrected, but there was nothing I could do about it.

“A head on collision was avoided, just by seconds.”

The man says the current penalty should be changed, and increased ‘massively’.

Another member of the public also believes the fine is too low, however he says we need to be using phone and car technologies better in order to communicate while being in the car.

“If cars have a voiced system of texting then that shouldn’t be an issue, but if you’re holding a phone and texting, it should be higher demerit points because it is very distracting.”

The male admits to previously texting and driving before laws came into place.

“It was very distracting, and it probably put me a little bit closer to other traffic than what I’d like to be.

“Now I have a voice activated text system in the car and I can stay concentrating on driving quite easily.”

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Posted on 27-07-2019 16:00 | By

I reckon it should be$1000 find and loose your licence for 6 months and if u get cought a 3rd time u loose your licence for good never aloud one again then they will think twice about doing it or make it like aussie the law is to soft in nz i nearly lost my life by a person txting and driving my car was written off the mupet was doing 80 in a 50km zone and hit me so stop txting

Wet tram tickets

Posted on 26-07-2019 19:09 | By First Responder

$80 for texting which is eyes off the road. $150 for not stopping for a red light, which is eyes on the road. Should be $300 for using a phone, and there should be phone cameras as done in Aus

No Traffic Policing

Posted on 26-07-2019 15:54 | By Gaz

Stand at any set of traffic lights and every set, there is a red light runner and multiple people on their mobile phones. Traffic policing is not a priority nor some crime, due to ?


Posted on 26-07-2019 14:40 | By morepork

It’s $150 for not wearing a seat belt...which, in and of itself, and, unlike texting, does not cause an accident. Penalties definitely need to be higher, and enforced.


Posted on 26-07-2019 13:17 | By hapukafin

The rules are quite simple and clear,you just dont do it.Its the fines that are not enough to deter it..And yes we all see it whilst standing on a corner.Police use hidden cameras to catch speeding drivers .Why dont they have a muffty cop on the corner taking regos and sending out tickets.


Posted on 26-07-2019 12:11 | By overit

Make the penalties tougher-I see truck drivers on the phone etc. Use blue tooth.

Out of whack

Posted on 26-07-2019 12:05 | By red

The punishment does not fit the crime, yet if you’re caught not wearing a seatbelt it’s $150 fine! Txt driving is no better than drink driving.

Policing cell phone use

Posted on 26-07-2019 12:01 | By tia

Comments in this article are very correct. Just stand on an intersection and see how much it is done. I use the Police site to report this when I see it and yes the penalties are far to low . Should be nearer $300 and for the third or subsequence offence, confiscate the car for 28 days. The risks are too high. Some drivers don’t realist, sitting at the traffic lights texting is still an offence.