Cameras to snap drivers' mobile phone, seat belt use

Source: 1News

Auckland drivers using their mobile phone while driving or not wearing their seat belt are the targets of a six-month safety camera trial which begins today.

The trial, run by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), is the first of its kind in New Zealand as the transport agency tries to better understand distracted driving.

Drivers using their mobile phone are the initial focus of the trial, with plans to snap people not wearing their seat belt further into the trial.

However, drivers snapped breaking the rules won't be fined or given demerit points.

NZTA says the scale of distracted driving and motorists not wearing seat belts is mostly anecdotal.

Driver distraction is a contributing factor in nearly 8% of fatal crashes. Around 90 people per year die on the country's roads because they aren't wearing a seat belt.

The safety cameras will be set up at three locations in the region and will capture every vehicle which drives past.

Drivers who don't have both hands on the steering wheel will be captured to try and see if they're distracted by their phone.

The same goes for those who aren't wearing a seat belt.

The driver's face and those of any passengers will be automatically blurred when the vehicle is snapped. The same goes for the vehicle's number plate.

If people are wearing a seat belt and driver's aren't using their phone, the photo will be deleted straight away.

For those not buckled up and driving distracted, the photo is deleted within 48 hours.

No enforcement action is being taken as part of the trial, so there will be no warning letters or infringement notices for naughty drivers.

Road to Zero strategy is to have no one killed or seriously injured in road crashes.