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Gardaí to begin nationwide crackdown on drivers using mobile phones

The national mobile phone operation will take place over the next two days, beginning tomorrow.

A COUNTRY-WIDE crackdown on people using mobile phones whilst driving will begin tomorrow with the launch of the National Mobile Phone Operation.

From 1 May, it will be completley illegal to text while driving, with the Transport Minister Leo Varadkar closing a legal loophole around text messaging while driving earlier this month.

Drivers caught texting and using mobiles, even a hands-free kit, will face a mandatory court summons and a fine instead of just penalty points.

Texting

If a driver is caught texting on their phones they could face a fine of up to €1,000 for a first offence, increasing to €2,000 if it is a second offence, with the possibility of a three month jail sentence.

The gardaí operation will take place over the next two days in a bid make drivers aware of the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving.

In the first three months of this year, nearly 10,000 drivers have been caught holding a mobile phone whilst driving.

In 2013, there were over 28,000 people detected holding a mobile phone whilst driving, said the gardaí, the second highest offence detected nationally.

The last national mobile phone operation held on 27 March 2014 yielded a 300 per cent increase in detections above the average daily detection rate.

“It is apparent that holding a mobile phone whilst driving remains a significant issue,” said the gardaí.

Distracting

Assistant Commissioner John Twomey, Garda National Traffic Bureau said:

We all know how distracting mobile phones can be in any situation, , except in the car it can have fatal consequences. Driving requires 100 per cent concentration – it’s as simple as that.

Twomey said that the figure of 10,000 drivers being detected holding a mobile phone whilst driving in the first three months of this year is “not acceptable”.

“The choice is yours. To avoid penalty points, a fine or worse, be involved in a road traffic collision, always put the phone away when driving,” he concluded.

Read: Young drivers are more likely to crash due to mobile phone distraction>

Read: Banned: Texting while driving now ‘completely prohibited’>

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