Hands free law

Since 2009, it has been illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. That means no texting, taking pics or checking your emails while you’re behind the wheel. If you do use a mobile phone, for example to take a call or for navigation, the phone must be either;

  • Secured in a mounting that is fixed to the vehicle and you can only look at the phone only infrequently and briefly


  • Able to be operated without touching any part of the phone, for example using a hands free kit

To encourage Kiwis to use their phones safely while driving, we’ve partnered with Waka Kotahi on a new initiative to remind drivers about the importance of remaining safe when behind the wheel and encourage better behaviour when using a mobile device.

The partnership also includes our telco friends Vodafone and Spark, as well as New Zealand Police and Auckland Transport. All of which have the same focus on making our roads a safer place.

We know that it’s safest not to use a phone at all while driving. Unfortunately, the reality is that phone use by drivers is commonplace in New Zealand, but many of these uses are dangerous and illegal. As a starting point, the working group has developed a fact sheet which highlights the legal and illegal use of phones in cars to better equip drivers with the knowledge around driver distraction.

To view the fact sheet for legal mobile phone use while driving, click here

Over the coming months, we’ll be working closely with Waka Kotahi and the working group to create thought-provoking campaigns. To kick off the partnership, there will be observational research taking place in July to assess real-life driving behaviours.

Stay tuned for more information. 


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