In just four hours, Queenstown police issued fines totalling
$4700 to drivers using cellphones and to people in vehicles
not wearing seat belts.
The total figure comprised 48 infringement notices, including
24 for failing to wear seat belts and 14 for using cellphones
Senior Sergeant John Fookes, of Queenstown, said the actual
number of offenders could be double the number caught in last
week's operation. This was because some might have gone
undetected while police were dealing with other offenders.
Snr Sgt Fookes said writing tickets was a means to an end
rather than the reason for undertaking the operation.
Failure to wear seat belts is found to increase the severity
of injury in the case of a crash, and using cellphones can
cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles, subsequently
endangering other road users.
Otago Rural acting area commander Inspector Andrew Burns said
seat belts and cellphones were a ''major issue for us right
across the country''.
Winter brought difficult road conditions and an increase in
tourists in some areas, so the operation was well timed, he
said. The Queenstown operation in which the 48 fines were
issued was conducted by the highway patrol last week, but
both Snr Sgt Fookes and Insp Burns said the targeting would
More exercises are planned within the Wakatipu and Insp Burns
said the operation was part of a Queenstown Lakes and Central
''We are wanting people to be aware that we are going to be
doing enforcement in the next few weeks [but] it's going to
be ongoing,'' Insp Burns said.