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Mobile phone use while driving "quadruples risk of being in a road collision"

The Road Safety Authority is warning people not to use mobile phones while driving. It has also emerged that one fifth of drivers caught using mobile phones have not been penalised.

The RSA's message: Keep mobile phone use for when you are not in the car.
The RSA's message: Keep mobile phone use for when you are not in the car.
Image: John Birdsall/John Birdsall/Press Association Images via PA Images

SWITCH OFF YOUR mobile phone before driving – or face a penalty.

That’s the warning that the Road Safety Authority and the Garda Siochána are giving motorists this May Bank Holiday weekend.

The RSA warns that mobile phone use leads to an increased risk of collisions, and that using one while driving is one of the most dangerous things you can do in a car.

Driver distraction is thought to play a role in 20 – 30 per cent of all road collisions and using a mobile phone can increase the risk of being in a road collision by up to four times.

However despite this danger, between 39 and 45 per cent of drivers admit to using their mobile phones at least sometimes while driving.

In total, 97,432 current penalty point notices were issued between September 2006 and the end of March 2010 to Irish drivers for driving a vehicle while holding a mobile phone.

Out of this, 20,494 people did not receive penalty points as their licence was not Irish.

Due to differing penalty point systems in different countries, currently it is not possible to put penalty points on a non-Irish licence for offences carried out on Irish roads.

However, these points are held in abeyance so if the person does get an Irish licence, they will then receive the points.

Under the Road Traffic Act 2006, motorists caught driving while holding a mobile phone are issued with a €60 fine and two penalty points.

See the full breakdown of how many penalties were received per county on the RSA website.

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