Irish drivers who continue to use mobile phones while on the road put everyone in danger, according to a Road Safety Authority (RSA) report.
The observational study of hand-held mobile phone use by drivers, conducted by the RSA, has revealed that around one in 20 Irish drivers use their hand-held mobile phone while driving.
The RSA study – a compilation of observation surveys at 45 sites in Athlone, Cork and surrounds, Dublin, Dundalk/Drogheda, Galway, Limerick, Maynooth and surrounds, and Co Kildare – found a marked variation by area in the number of drivers using a hand-held mobile phone while driving; with Cork City (12pc) representing the highest level of mobile phone use among all drivers, and twice the national average.
‘Extremely worrying’ results
Noel Brett, chief executive of the RSA, appealed to drivers to be aware of the risks associated with using a mobile phone while driving:
“The results of this study are extremely worrying, particularly when we know that you are four times more likely to crash if you use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. We also know that the results understate the true extent of the problem as the study did not capture those texting while driving or those using a hands-free kit.”
Brett reiterated that it is not safe to drive while using a mobile device and that, in doing so, the lives of others are placed in danger.
“While you might think you can drive safely while using your mobile phone, this is simply not the case. By continuing to use your mobile phone while driving, you are risking your life, the lives of your passengers and the lives of others. And no phone call is worth that risk,” said Brett.
The RSA report found that the lowest levels of usage while driving were observed among drivers in Drogheda and Dundalk, at 3pc and Athlone, with 2pc non-compliance.
A staggering 93,525 penalty points have been issued for mobile phone abuses between September 2006 to date.
Assistant commissioner John Twomey, Garda National Traffic Bureau, An Garda Síochána, stated the importance of driver compliance at all times:
“Simply put, it is unsafe and illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving.”
The report can be downloaded online.