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Changes to road rules coming soon

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The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is reminding drivers that changes to New Zealand's road rules - including a ban on the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving - come into force in less than three weeks' time.

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is reminding drivers that changes to New Zealand’s road rules – including a ban on the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving – come into force in less than three weeks’ time.

The changes are part of the Land Transport (Road User) Amendment Rule 2009 which takes effect from 1 November. The NZTA is encouraging drivers to familiarise themselves with the rule changes now.

Although the new rules will allow the use of hands-free mobile phones, the NZTA recommends that drivers minimise the potential for distraction by switching phones off while driving, or pulling over to make or receive calls. From 1 November it will only be legal to use a mobile phone to make, receive or end a call when driving if:

  • the driver does not have to hold or manipulate the phone to do so (i.e. phone is completely voice activated), or
  • the mobile phone is securely mounted to the vehicle and the driver manipulates the phone infrequently and briefly.

The rule does not allow drivers to create, send, or read text messages under any circumstances.

If drivers choose to pull over to use a mobile phone they must do so in a safe and legal place. Pulling over on a motorway to use a mobile phone is dangerous and illegal. Drivers should only pull over on a motorway in a genuine emergency.

It is not the intent of the Road User Rule to make it illegal for drivers to use the satellite navigation and music functions of mobile phones, provided they are mounted in the vehicle and manipulated infrequently and briefly. Officials are currently amending the rule accordingly. However, phones and satellite navigation systems should always be programmed while the vehicle is stationary, as doing so in a moving vehicle is a potential distraction.

The Road User Rule includes several other changes which drivers should also be aware of. Detailed information is available at http://www.nzta.govt.nz/publications/road-user-amendment-2009(external link).

Editors’ note: The attached press ad will run in major metropolitan newspapers from Sunday, 18 October.

For more information please contact:

Andy Knackstedt - Media Manager
T 64 4 894 6285 
M  021 276 3222  
andrew.knackstedt@nzta.govt.nz

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