An Garda Síochána and The Road Safety Authority (RSA) will today launch the 2019 Easter bank holiday weekend road safety appeal.
Drivers will be urged to put their mobile phones away while driving so that they can focus their attention on the road.
Gardai will have a visible enforcement presence over the Easter weekend to target motorists who continue to ignore the risks associated with using a mobile phone will driving.
Public appeals will be made today by Assistant Garda Commissioner David Sheahan, Roads Policing & Major Event Management and Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive Officer, Road Safety Authority.
Almost 5,000 drivers were caught holding their mobile phones while driving by gardaí in the first two months of 2019, a 24 per cent increase on the same period last year.
There have been 4,905 detections in January and February of this year, up from 3,963 over the first two months of 2018.
Assistant Commissioner David Sheahan, from the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau said drivers have been detected “surfing the net” while driving.
“The problem that we have in respect of it, people have even changed from using a mobile now for texting. What they’re actually doing now is surfing the net. They’re looking at their Instagram profile, their Facebook, ” he said.
Motorists detected holding a mobile phone receive three penalty points and a fixed charge notice of €60.
The RSA said using your mobile phone when driving makes you four times more likely to crash.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross said the increase in detections for holding a mobile phone while driving is “shocking”.
“Evidence shows that driver distraction is one of the major risk factors in causing road traffic collisions,” he said.
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