In 2019, nearly 5,000 motorists have been caught by the Gardaí holding a phone while driving 4 months ago

In 2019, nearly 5,000 motorists have been caught by the Gardaí holding a phone while driving

The Gardaí are clamping down over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Ahead of the Easter weekend, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are urging drivers to put their mobile phones away while driving so they can focus all their attention on the road.

In the first two months of 2019, almost 5,000 drivers were detected by the Gardaí holding their mobile phone while driving. This represents an increase of 24% in detections when compared to the same period in 2018.

A total of eight people have been killed and 63 seriously injured in Easter Bank Holiday crashes over the last five years.

Two people were killed and 14 seriously injured over last year's Easter Bank Holiday.

Mr. Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport said: “A 24% increase in detections for holding a mobile while driving is shocking but clearly, the Gardaí are working hard to stamp out the practice, and it should serve as a warning to those people who refuse to listen. Evidence shows that driver distraction is one of the major risk factors in causing road traffic collisions. The message is put the phone away while driving and take extra care over the coming Easter Bank Holiday weekend.”

Assistant Commissioner David Sheahan, Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, has said that: “Any interaction with a mobile phone while driving is a killer behaviour that affects your ability to drive safely and puts the user and others at risk. It’s for this reason that An Garda Síochána continue to target this behaviour and alarmingly we have seen a 24% increase in drivers detected holding a mobile phone in 2019 vs 2018.

"Motorists detected holding a mobile phone risk a fixed charge notice of €60 and three penalty points. If you are a fully licensed driver and get 12 penalty points in a three year period you will be disqualified from driving for six months. However, if you are a learner permit holder or novice driver and receive seven points in a three year period you will face a six months disqualification. We are calling on all motorists to save lives and keep their hands on the wheel and off the phone while driving.”

The RSA and Applegreen have teamed up again to combat the effects of driver fatigue over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend by providing free cups of coffee to drivers between 14:00 - 20:00 on Good Friday and on Monday, 22 April. Simply say ‘RSA’ to the till operator to avail of a free coffee.