The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZ Transport Agency) has entered into a new partnership to prevent car accidents caused by distracted driving.

The move comes after recent research noted that 32% of the country’s motorists will text someone while driving.

The new collaboration includes 2degrees, Vodafone, Spark, Auckland Transport and New Zealand Police as partners.

As agreed, the companies will work together to encourage safe driving and carry out different campaigns over the next 12 months to raise awareness on the risks of using mobile phones while driving.

NZ Transport Agency senior manager road safety Fabian Marsh said: “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 and this is a hard behaviour to shift.

“The partnership will help us to better understand driver behaviours and develop targeted initiatives aimed at raising awareness of the risks and to spread the word on the importance of driving undistracted.”

As part of the initiative, observational research will be carried out to understand real-life driving behaviours. The study will help in determining how drivers use their phones in the car, which will shape the future campaigns accordingly.

Marsh added: ““By showcasing what people actually do in the car, we will have the insight to combat phone distraction with practical solutions. We’re looking forward to working with all of our partners to help tackle a real problem that affects New Zealand drivers every day.”

As a government agency, NZ Transport Agency administers the state highway network, as well as construction work to ensure safe and functional transport across the country.

Recently, the agency announced that it will demolish the old McClymonts Road Bridge on the Northern Motorway (SH1) over the next three months.