Driving safety survey revealing

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 16:20 13/12/2013

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Mid Canterbury Selwyn

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Many Selwyn residents say they don't use their mobile phone when driving but most of them regularly see people flouting the law.

It has been illegal to talk on a mobile phone while behind the wheel for four years, yet 97 per cent of the 359 Selwyn residents surveyed said they had seen people using their phones when driving, especially when stuck at traffic lights.

The Selwyn District Road Safety Drive phone free survey also revealed more than two-thirds of those surveyed took steps not to answer their phones when they were driving.

Selwyn road safety co-ordinator Ngaire Tinning said 40 per cent of drivers surveyed said they let a passenger take a phone call if it rang when they were driving, and 27 per cent of drivers usually left their phone go to voicemail. A further 6 per cent either turned their phone off, put it on silent or put it out of reach.

The survey was carried out as part of a wider council campaign to encourage motorists to drive phone free.

Survey participants were asked to share their driving safety tips.  These included pulling over to answer the phone, turning the phone off or putting it out of reach when driving.

"Using a phone when you have stopped at the lights is a bad idea as many drivers are tempted to continue to finish their conversation or texting as they drive off,'' Tinning said.

"At that time you have a lot of demands on your attention like checking for traffic before you go and putting your car into gear and you shouldn't also be trying to complete a conversation or send a text," she said. 

"Our advice is that if you can switch your phone off while driving that eliminates the risk that you will be distracted by a phone and this is the safest option.  If you do need to have your phone on, then seeing if someone else can answer it or letting it go to answer phone and returning the call once you have stopped are also good options."

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- The Press

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