Taupo Police were out in force on Thursday and Friday last week checking over 1000 drivers and issuing infringements to those ignoring the message to “Always wear your safety belt”.
Of the 1142 cars police processed on Rifle Range and Spa Roads, 3.9 percent of vehicle occupants, including drivers and passengers, did not have their safety belt on and were fined. Taupo’s result is slightly better the national average of 5 percent non-compliance, a figure which is still considered too high.
Males appeared to be the worst offenders, accounting for around three quarters of the infringements handed out.
Taupo Police Senior Sergeant Fane Troy was happy with the outcome. “The compliance rate is a good result for a covert operation. History shows that, in the past, non-compliance has been a lot higher so the message must be sinking in. I applaud those who do buckle themselves and their passengers in.”
A further 20 drivers were stopped while talking on handheld mobile phones. While not an offence yet, new legislation means that from 1 November it will be. “We were interested to see how many drivers are using mobile phones while driving,” said Senior Sgt Troy. “Come November it will be law so we encourage drivers to educate themselves now and utilise a hands free kit or pull off the road, stop and then take the call.”
The safety belt check was part of a wider safety belt campaign by Police and the Taupo District Council. Schools are the next focus, with a campaign centred around the correct use of child restraints for children.