Motorists still texting despite penalty points risk
Published 05/08/2014 | 02:30
ONE IN 10 drivers are still using a mobile phone to talk or text at the wheel despite stiff new penalties.
Men are nearly twice as likely as women to break the law by using their phone while driving, according to new research.
Offenders are not just confined to passenger cars; the study discovered substantial numbers of van and truck drivers using their mobiles as well.
The survey was carried out by 'easytrip' and involved more than 1,000 vehicles during peak commute times.
Of the motorists observed breaking the law:
* 53pc were texting or checking their phones while driving, or at traffic lights.
* 48pc were talking on a hand-held phone while waiting in traffic or driving.
* Some 'double-offender' drivers texted as well as spoke on the phone in the course of the survey.
Since August 1, drivers get three penalty points (up from two) for holding a mobile phone while at the wheel, with a €60 fixed charge, and the possibility of five points if convicted in court.
Research has shown that drivers who are distracted by mobile phones are four times more likely to be involved in an accident.
Considering the risk and level of penalties, the authors of the 'easytrip' survey describe the findings as "alarming".
More men (63pc) than women (37pc) broke the law.
Most men talked on their hand-held mobile (41pc) while a higher proportion of women (39pc) checked their phone or texted while stopped at traffic lights.