AN Garda Siochana have said they are currently conducting a mobile phone operation to monitor the use of phones in cars.
This comes as a result of having detected over 28,000 drivers holding a mobile phone while driving in 2015 – an average of 76 a day.
The gardai are appealing to drivers to ‘switch off before you drive off’ because ‘no call is worth it’.
‘Distracted driving, such as using or holding a mobile phone whilst driving is a high risk activity for all road users and as such must be addressed. Intercepting such distracted drivers will modify driver behaviour, thus making the roads safer for all road users.
All available Garda personnel, both uniform and plain clothes, will participate in this targeted mobile phone enforcement operation. The aim of the operation is to detect offending motorists who hold or use a mobile phone while driving,’ a statement added.
Drivers are advised that an offence is committed when ‘holding a mobile phone while driving’. This can be in the hand or supporting or cradling it with another part of the body, ie 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/ emails etc, is committing an offence if ‘holding’ the device as outlined above.
The offence of holding a phone while driving carries a fixed charge penalty of 3 points and an €80 fine if paid within 28 days. It is also an offence to send or read a text while driving but the law does not cover anything done without touching the phone.