The Driver Attitudes & Behaviour Survey 2021 found that 37% of motorists surveyed were not practicing safe mobile phone behaviour, such as turning off their phone, switching it on silent, or keeping it out of sight while driving.
The RSA survey also found that 19% of respondents use their phones to read messages and emails, while 13% write messages and emails while on the road.
In addition, 12% of motorists admitted to using their phones to check social media.
International research has also shown that drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a collision if they use their mobile phones.
Following the results of the survey, the RSA and An Garda Síochána have appealed to drivers to put down their phones while driving.
“The penalty for using a mobile phone, which includes supporting it with any part of your body, while driving is an automatic three points on your licence and a €60 fine,” Assistant Commissioner, Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement, An Garda Síochána said.
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In 2021, Gardai issued 22,310 notices for ‘driving a vehicle while holding a mobile phone’.
“When driving our attention should be focused on one thing only – driving safely and not on a mobile phone.”
“As road-users, we have a responsibility to ourselves, our passengers, and other road-users to keep our attention on the road, so I would encourage all road-users to switch off before you drive off,” she continued.
Meanwhile, Sam Waide, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said: “Using your mobile is a significant form of driver distraction as it dangerously impairs your ability to monitor the road ahead and react to any hazards in time.
“That call, text, or social media post can wait until you are parked up safely, whatever you do, don’t take a chance and use your phone while driving.”
“If you know someone is driving, avoid phoning them until they have reached their destination or are safely parked up,” he continued.
“Following the publication of the latest statistics, we are asking all motorists to follow safe behaviour when it comes to their mobile phone while driving and either turn it off, switch it to airplane mode, put it on silent or simply put it out of sight”.
To date in 2022, a total of 86 people have died on Irish roads, 27 more than during the same period in 2021.
The government Road Safety Strategy 2021 to 2030 primary target is to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries by 50% by 2030.
It is also the first step towards realising Vision Zero, whereby all deaths and serious injuries are eliminated by 2050.