MOBILE PHONE USE AMONGST NEW ZEALAND DRIVERS
Sullman, M. and Harris, K., Massey University, New Zealand
Despite New Zealand's geographic isolation, or because of it, New Zealand is a country that readily adopts technology. This is also the case with mobile phones. Information from the two biggest mobile phone companies operating in New Zealand indicates that more than 2.3 million people, or 61% of the population, are their mobile phone customers. As mobile phone use whilst driving has been linked to increased risk of crash involvement, there have been calls from the New Zealand police to ban drivers from using mobile phones while driving. Due to the high proportion of mobile phone users in New Zealand, mobile phone use represents a significant potential hazard. However, little is known about those who use mobile phones while driving on New Zealand's roads. Therefore, this research aimed to investigate who uses mobile phones while driving, whether they use a "hands free" kit, their perceptions of risk, and their crash involvement over the previous five years. The results are discussed along with the implications of this research for reducing the number of crashes.