A special operation targeting motorists who use mobile phones while driving is to be conducted by the Garda on Thursday and Friday.
Almost 10,000 drivers have been detected holding a mobile phone while driving in the first three months of this year. In the whole of last year, there were more than 28,000 people detected.
According to research, there is a four-fold increase in the risk of having a road collision when using a mobile phone.
Provisional figures from a national mobile phone operation held on March 27th yielded a 300 per cent increase in detections above the average daily detection rate.
Assistant Commissioner John Twomey of the Garda National Traffic Bureau said this week’s operation was in order to “make drivers aware of the dangers of using a mobile phone” and to “detect offending motorists”.
“We all know how distracting mobile phones can be in any situation – except in the car it can have fatal consequences,” he said. “Driving requires 100 per cent concentration. It’s as simple as that.
“In the first three months of the year, nearly 10,000 drivers have been detected holding a mobile phone whilst driving. This is not acceptable or conducive to road safety.”
Points and fine
Mr Twomey said offenders will receive two penalty points and a €60 fine.
An offence is committed when a driver is “holding a mobile phone while driving”. This can be in the hand or by supporting or cradling it with another part of the body, such as between the neck and shoulder. It is not a requisite that a person is actually engaged in a conversation. Similarly a person texting, or accessing the internet or emails, is also committing an offence if “holding” the phone in similar fashion.
This week’s operation will be conducted on the basis of existing legislation but new regulations in respect of mobile phones and driving come into operation on May 1st.