FTA Ireland has voiced its support of a special Garda operation which is to target motorists who use mobile phones while driving.
The two day ‘crack-down’ will focus on motorists who are detected holding a mobile device while they are behind the wheel, following the staggering figure of almost 10,000 being discovered on their phones in the first three months of this year.
The Freight Transport Ireland (FTAI) said that it was not surprised but concerned at the recent figures which indicated in 12 months there were more than 28,000 motorists detected using a mobile phone.
Neil McDonnell, FTA Ireland General Manager commented:
"FTA Ireland is in full support of anything that will improve the safety on the roads in Ireland. The recent figures illustrate how drivers are still ignoring the law and it is essential that they realise the potential dangers of using a mobile phone when they are behind the wheel."
Provisional figures from a national mobile phone operation held on March 27th yielded a 300 per cent increase in detections above the average daily detection rate.
According to research, there is a four-fold increase in the risk of having a road collision when using a mobile phone.
Mr McDonnell continued:
"Studies have shown the risk of being in a crash that causes injury is increased four times for drivers on both hand-held and hands-free phones, with reactions 30 per cent slower than driving at the national drive limit, and 50 per cent slower than under normal conditions".
This Garda operation comes ahead of new legislation which will penalise all drivers caught texting and using mobiles or smart-phones, even those on a hands-free kit will be given a mandatory court summons and a fine instead of just penalty points under new road safety regulations.
The new rules, which come into effect from May 1st, mean anyone caught texting or "accessing information" on their phones will face a mandatory court appearance and a fine of up to €1,000 for a first offence. This will rise to a maximum of €2,000 for a second offence, and a possible three-month jail sentence, along with a €2,000 fine, for three offences or more within a 12-month period.