Safety camera trial provides data on illegal mobile phone use and non-wearing of seatbelts 


Newly published results of a six-month trial of safety cameras in Auckland provide further evidence on the scale of mobile phone use by drivers and the failure of vehicle occupants to use seatbelts.

Waka Kotahi undertook the trial across three locations in Tāmaki Makaurau last year to help quantify the problem, as well as to test the ability of safety cameras to accurately detect this behaviour and make our roads safer. The trial was the first of its kind in Aotearoa. 

Results from the trial show that across three test sites over the six-month period, one in 42 drivers (2.4%) were detected illegally using mobile phones, while one in 95 (1%) vehicles had occupants not wearing seatbelts. The total number of potential offences recorded over the full trial period was 242,959. 

Waka Kotahi General Manager Regulatory Transformation and System, Tara Macmillan says the Auckland trial represents the first steps to collecting better evidence on the scale of these road safety issues in New Zealand, and the role of safety cameras in addressing them.

“We’re taking a pragmatic approach to looking at how this technology can be introduced most effectively, including how automated detection could work alongside other road safety strategies.

“Safety cameras and automated detection technology are potentially important tools for broader future use. They are just one way that we can keep people safe by reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads. We need everyone making safe choices, in safe vehicles, on safe roads, travelling at safe speeds to achieve our vision of an Aotearoa where no one is killed or seriously injured on our roads.” 

Ms Macmillan says findings of the trial will inform future decisions on regulatory changes which would be needed to enable the use of safety cameras to enforce mobile phone and seatbelt offences, which is currently not permitted under the Land Transport Act 1998. 

Mobile phone and seatbelt detection trial(external link)