Gardaí to record drivers’ use of phone at time of crash

Move forms change to way collision data collected to improve understnading of causes

Gardaí are to start recording whether a driver was using a mobile phone at the time of a crash or whether the collision involved a hit-and-run.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Gardaí are to start recording whether a driver was using a mobile phone at the time of a crash or whether the collision involved a hit-and-run. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Wed, Aug 28, 2013, 11:21

Gardaí are to start recording whether a driver was using a mobile phone at the time of a crash or whether the collision involved a hit-and-run.

It is part of changes to the way collision data is collected by gardaí in a bid to improve their understanding of the causes and trends in road crashes.

The details of every serious collision are recorded on a Garda form called the C(T)68 held on the force’s pulse computer system. This form is being revised.

As part of the revision a more detailed assessment of a driver’s licence status will be recorded. Currently gardaí only record if a motorist holds a full or provisional licence.

However, from January 1st 2014 when the changes come into force, gardaí will detail whether a motorist is an accompanied learner driver, an unaccompanied learner driver, holds a novice licence, has no licence, a foreign licence, is disqualified or that their licence details are under investigation.

The C(T)68 can be used during an inquest or a court case and part of the form - with the personal details excluded - is shared with the Road Safety Authority which uses it to compile road collision statistics.

The issue came to light after a number of families who had lost relatives in hit and run crashes in 2011 contacted road safety group Parc to point out there was no record of this type of collision in the Garda statistics.

Parc spokeswoman Susan Gray said when An Garda was asked about this “we found out that the reason was that there was no ‘hit and run’ category in the C(T)68 form so a garda at a crash scene could not categorise a collision correctly.”

Parc also identified an issue around the failure to record details of whether a driver was using a mobile phone at the time of the crash. “With the rise in mobile technology this was a massive concern and urgently needed to be addressed.”

Following this the road safety group wrote to the Garda Commissioner and called for the form to be updated.

“Most of our submissions have been accepted and gardai will now record a hit-and-run or if a driver was using their phone.”

As part of the changes An Garda will now transfer collision forms electronically to the RSA, rather than in hard copy, potentially allowing for the compilation of quarterly rather than annual collision statistics.