According to a new study from the Road Safety Authority (RSA), almost a quarter of drivers check their mobile phone notifications while driving and 37% do not regularly adopt a safe behavior when it comes to using the phone portable.
Summer sees activity heat up on farms across the country, as farmers and contractors sometimes work longer than usual to make silage. There is often an urge to check the phone for messages as work comes in and needs to be scheduled
Safe mobile phone behavior
This includes turning off your cell phone; put it in silent mode; or keep it out of sight.
But the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are appealing to all drivers not to use their phone while driving a vehicle.
International research has shown that drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a collision if they use their mobile phone while driving.
Despite this, the RSA 2021 Driver Attitude and Behavior Survey revealed that 19% of respondents use their phone to read messages/emails, while 13% write messages/emails while driving.
Additionally, 12% of motorists admitted to using their phone to check social media.
RSA Chief Executive Sam Waide said:
“Driver distraction is thought to play a role in up to 30% of all traffic collisions. Using your cell phone is a significant form of driver distraction, as it dangerously impairs your ability to monitor the road ahead and react to any hazards in time.
“That call, text or social media post can wait until you are parked safely, whatever you do, don’t take any chances and use your phone while driving.
“If you know someone is driving, avoid calling them until they have reached their destination or are parked safely.
“Following the publication of the latest statistics, we ask all motorists to respect a prudent behavior vis-à-vis their mobile phone while driving and either to turn it off, put it in airplane mode, put it in mode silent or just put it out of sight.”
The penalty for using a mobile phone, which includes supporting it with any part of your body, while driving is an automatic three points on your license and a €60 fine. If you accumulate 12 penalty points (or seven for novice and learner drivers) over a three-year period, you will be banned from driving for six months.
According to Assistant Commissioner, Paula Hilman, Traffic Policing and Community Engagement, An Garda Síochána:
“When we drive, our attention should be focused on one thing: driving safely and not on a mobile phone. As road users we have a responsibility to ourselves, our passengers and other road users to keep our attention on the road, so I encourage all road users to turn off before to leave.
In 2021, a total of 22,310 advisories were issued for driving a vehicle while holding a cellphone.
So far in 2022, a total of 86 people have died on Irish roads, 27 more than the same period in 2021.
The main objective of the government’s Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 is to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries by 50% by 2030. This is also the first step towards achieving Vision Zero, according to which all deaths and serious injuries will be eliminated by 2050.