Anyone who drives on our roads will not be surprised the police issued 54 infringement notices in two hours in West Auckland this week to motorists driving while distracted. It is a surprise they found one man texting with two cellphones, and another using his cellphone in his left hand, steering with his knee, and drinking a beer in his right hand.
The current crackdown on drivers using cellphones is overdue, and those of us who drive a lot know the rules have been openly flouted for months. You are almost certain now to see someone talking on their phone while driving.
The reason cars fail to take off when a green light appears is almost always because the driver has their head down texting rather than watching the traffic lights. And it is not just younger drivers who flout the law openly.
Phones are often held up in full view, as a Herald photographer proved during the week.
At last the police are targeting offenders, and sooner or later the message will get through that texting or holding a phone and talking is unacceptably dangerous behaviour on the road.
The fines are not massive when compared to speeding fines, although up until now they have provided little deterrent. Long overdue, tougher and continuing enforcement should reduce what has become a real danger to all of us who drive.
It probably won’t eliminate the extreme cases of driving by knee when drinking, but it will make journeys for the rest of us safer.