Police officers carrying out a blitz in Oamaru recently issued 38 tickets to drivers caught using cellphones behind the wheel and not wearing seatbelts.
Police launched the nationwide blitz to coincide with the anniversary of the introduction of legislation banning mobile phone use while driving and to remind drivers of the risk associated with distraction while driving.
Also included in the blitz, was a focus on wearing safety belts.
"Observers" were deployed around town keeping a close eye on drivers and reporting any non-compliance.
Oamaru police Constable Ruth Perham said the campaign was aimed at reminding drivers of the need to be aware of the very real risk that distractions represent, especially talking and texting on cellphones.
"When you're driving you need to be aware that you shouldn't be using your phone," Mrs Perham said.
"When you need to take a phone call, you need to pull over."
She issued a reminder to drivers that using cellphones behind the wheel was an offence.
However, the general attitude of Oamaru drivers was good.
"A lot of the public are taking it into consideration," she said.
On top of the 38 infringement notices issued for cellphone and seatbelt offences, six traffic offence notices were handed out, two disqualified drivers and three forbidden drivers were stopped and one driver was processed for driving with an excess breath alcohol level during the blitz.
Mrs Perham said police would continue to be highly visible in the region during the holiday season to crack down on cellphone use while driving, and make sure vehicle occupants were wearing safety belts.
She said cellphones were a real distraction and encouraged people to use Bluetooth and hands-free settings.
Road Policing national manager Superintendent Carey Griffiths said police did not take an increase or decrease in numbers of infringements as a success measure.
"It's a success if we can generate an increased awareness among motorists of the dangers of these risks and get them to change their behaviour, which will translate to an overall reduction in crashes, deaths and injuries over time," he said.
Anecdotal feedback from police staff across the country suggested most people had responded positively to the campaign, with feedback from many motorists saying that they are unimpressed when they see someone using their cellphone at the wheel, and that they are pleased that police are enforcing the rule.
"Equally, many of those who have been caught have been contrite about being ticketed and have said it was about time they were caught to stop them doing it again," Mr Griffiths said.