2010 News

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24 Bealtaine 2010

Admhaíonn tiománaí as gach cúigear go n-úsáideann siad fóna póca go rialta agus iad ag tiomáint

89,497 Penalty Point Notices Issued for Mobile Phone Offences

Research revealed by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) today Monday 24th May has shown that as many as 1 in 5 drivers regularly use their mobile phone while driving. The RSA is appealing to drivers to be aware of the dangers of using a phone while driving as research suggests that driver distraction plays a role in up to 30% of all road collisions*.

The survey was conducted by Millward Browne Lansdowne on behalf of the RSA, in November 2009, among 1,000 drivers, on their use of a hands-free or hand-held mobile phone while driving. It found that;

  • 1 in 5 drivers admitted to using their hand-held mobile phone at least sometimes when driving.
  • The use of hands-free mobile phones is more common with 1 in 5 drivers saying they often or always use their hands-free phone when driving,
  • 1 in 10 people say they send text messages while driving
  • 1 in 20 drivers admitted to regularly using their hand-held mobile phone.

Mr Noel Brett, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority expressed concern at the numbers of people who continue to use their mobile phone when driving: “Using a hand held mobile phone when driving a car is not only against the law, it’s a distraction. Simply put, you incur four times the risk of being involved in a collision if you use your mobile phone while driving. Furthermore, research also suggests that using a hands-free mobile phone is no safer than using a hand-held phone.** Yet many people continue to use their mobile phones in the car, with no regard for their safety, their passenger’s safety or the safety of others.”

Assistant Commissioner Kevin Ludlow of the Garda Traffic Branch emphasised the importance of driver compliance at all times with road traffic legislation on mobile phones: “It is totally unacceptable to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving, however the research and enforcement data indicates that too many drivers continue to believe otherwise. In 2009 over 35,000 mobile phone offences were detected with over 12,000 detected to date in 2010.

Drivers must focus their attention on driving and remain fully alert to other road users and unpredictable hazards on the roads. A moment’s distraction can lead to tragedy and a lifetime of pain and suffering for families and friends”.

The research also revealed some worrying statistics in relation to texting and driving. Almost 1 in 10 people surveyed said they sometimes, often or always text while driving. Drivers who text while driving spend up to 400% more time with their eyes off the road and their ability to see and respond to road traffic signs or maintain their position on the road is significantly reduced.***

Over half of all drivers surveyed said they spend at least a few minutes on the phone while driving with 1% admitting to spending more than an hour on the phone.

“We understand that in a modern fast-paced society, many people need to use their mobile phone as part of their daily lives but by choosing to do this while driving, you are putting yourself at risk of a collision. And no phone call is worth putting your life or the lives of others in danger. Switch off before you drive off, and if you need to make a phone call or check your messages, pull in and park in a safe place first,” said Mr Brett.

Penalty points for driving a vehicle while holding a mobile phone came into force in September 2006. It is now the second highest penalty point offence in Ireland after speeding, with almost 90,000 offences recorded up to 30th April 2010. This represents an increase of over 22,000 in just 12 months since 30th April 2009.

To advise drivers of the dangers of driving while using a mobile phone, the RSA has produced a 30 second radio ad which is currently running on all national and local radio stations. In addition, an information leaflet called ‘Mobile Phones and Driving’ can be downloaded from www.rsa.ie.

The leaflet provides the following advice for drivers:

  1. Switch off before you drive off. Turn off your mobile phone or put it on the ‘silent’ or ‘meeting’ option setting before starting your journey.
  2. Use the voicemail on your mobile phone so people can leave messages for you while you’re travelling.
  3. Stop regularly on your journey so you can check for messages and return any calls.
  4. Make sure the place you stop is a legal and safe place to park. It is illegal to stop on a motorway unless it is an emergency.
  5. If you call someone on their mobile phone while they are driving, be aware that they should be concentrating on their driving and not on your conversation. Tell them you will call them back or wait until they pull their car over.

Click here to download the research by Millward Browne Lansdowne (Powerpoint).

ENDS For further information:

RSA Communications Office – 096 25008 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 096 25008 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Editors’ Notes: Source of research * Dews, F. A., & Stayer, D. L. (2009). Cellular Phones and Driver Distraction. In M. A. Regan, J. D. Lee, & K. L. Young, Driver Distraction Theory, Effects and Mitigation (pp. 169-190). CRC Press.

** Redelemeir, D. A., & Tibshirani, R. J. (1997). Association between cellular telephone calls and motor vehcile crashes. The New England Journal of Medicine , 363, 453-458.

*** Hosking, S., Young, K., & Regan, M. (2006). The Effects of Tex Messaging on Young Novice Driver Performance. Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC).



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