Most drivers think mobile use okay
DRIVERS might know the laws of the road but they do not agree with them -- with many refusing to accept that speeding or driving while using a mobile phone is dangerous.
The alarming findings are included in a report by the Road Safety Authority, which found half of all motorists here believe they can safely break the speed limit on main roads.
And most Irish drivers do not think using a mobile phone while behind the wheel is dangerous.
The RSA report comes as gardai mount an Easter weekend offensive yesterday, aimed at curbing speeding, drink driving and mobile phone use.
Extra checkpoints will be mounted nationwide over the high risk two-week period.
The RSA report also found:
- Younger drivers in particular do not perceive that driving with a mobile phone in their hand is dangerous.
- Only 1pc of 17-24 year-olds rate mobile phone use as most dangerous.
- Comfort with speeding is especially high in the commuter belt counties surrounding Dublin.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol is considered the most dangerous behaviour, with 33pc placing it as the highest risk factor.
- Alcohol is especially seen as the key danger factor by those in their early 20s.
The research was conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of the RSA among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults during October--November 2010 and January 2011.
Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey said the research showed that younger drivers in particular did not seem to appreciate the dangers of using mobile phones when driving.
Talking on the phone and texting seemed to be perceived by this group as harmless.
"Holding a phone or texting while driving distracts the driver's attention from the road and can lead to fatal consequences," said Mr Twomey.
He expressed concern that over the recent St Patrick's holiday period there was an increase in the number of drivers caught drink driving and speeding at the same time.
"The refusal of drivers to change their behaviour in relation to drink driving and speeding has contributed to the increase in deaths and injuries on our roads compared to this time last year.
"Drivers persist in taking chances -- chances with their own life and all others that they meet on the road."
With the Easter and May bank holidays approaching, gardai appealed to drivers to help curb the carnage.
A total of 61 people have died on our roads so far this year, an increase of six compared with the same period last year.
In the past two years 13 people were killed and 33 people were seriously injured on Irish roads over the two bank holiday weekends.
Mr Twomey said: "I am asking every person in Ireland that use the roads to make a commitment that they will do so safely and with care and consideration for the other people they meet along the way."