One in 12 motorists wants ban for drivers on mobiles
Published 20/05/2011 | 05:00
ONE in 12 Irish motorists wants automatic driving bans for anyone caught using mobile phones while driving.
Irish motorists have little sympathy for drivers who use their mobiles behind the wheel, according to a new survey.
Most of the 16,000 drivers surveyed by AA Motor Insurance wanted to see a higher number of penalty points for the offence.
Two thirds favoured heftier fines for offenders.
Motorists caught using a handheld mobile phone while driving can receive two penalty points and a €60 fine. A total of 97,148 drivers already have points for the offence.
However, just one in five motorists polled believed this system to be adequate.
Among the other potential solutions offered by drivers were:
- An incremental penalty system to deter repeat offenders.
- Confiscation of mobile phones by Gardai.
- Tax breaks on hands-free car kits.
- An enforcement drive by Gardai similar to their campaign around bus lanes.
- A scale of penalties where those who used phones in traffic jams would not be punished too harshly.
Many drivers favoured better enforcement of existing laws, rather than tougher penalties.
A total of 8pc of respondents prefer a zero-tolerance policy, meaning that those caught using a phone while driving should be banned outright.
"Mobile phone use is something that really seems to cause frustration and exasperation among drivers," said John Farrell, AA Motor Insurance director. "We can all see it every day, and we all know it is a bad and obviously a dangerous habit.
"The simple fact of the matter is that you're four times more likely to crash when you've got a mobile phone in your hand, so it's in everyone's interest to tackle the issue."
He added: "The law is there for a good reason. There can hardly be a driver in Ireland who does not know that using a hand-held phone while driving is illegal. It must be one of the silliest and most avoidable ways in which to get penalty points."