Monday 10 December 2018

'We all take for granted we can do it' - RTE documentary reveals scary results of using your mobile phone while driving

Michael McLaughlin struggles to drive while taking a call on his mobile phone. How's Your Driving, RTE One, 8.30pm Monday February 26
Michael McLaughlin struggles to drive while taking a call on his mobile phone. How's Your Driving, RTE One, 8.30pm Monday February 26
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

With almost half of Irish drivers admitting to using a mobile phone in some capacity while driving, it's an issue that potentially has a huge impact on the number of accidents on our roads.

The Road Safety Authority estimates that mobile phone use is potentially a factor in 20 to 30 per cent of all road collisions as drivers using phones are four times more likely to crash.

In the third episode of RTE documentary series, How's Your Driving?, four drivers are put to the test, attempting to tackle everyday driving challenges on a test track while speaking or texting on a mobile phone.

Donegal man Michael McLaughlin describes himself as a "confident but impatient" driver and admits he has "occasionally been guilty" of using his mobile phone while driving.

On the test track he tries to answer questions put to him by presenter Simon Delaney while also driving the and taking instructions from a driving instructor.

While he manages to avoid the obstacles, he says that if he was on a "busy road in a busy town, these hazards are there in everyday driving, it would have been a disaster".

Mayo woman Aoife McDonagh (24) from Mayo admits she has been "known to text while waiting at traffic lights" and "taking a call via bluetooth headphones".

During the course of her test drive Aoife hits the cones and the kerb and her driving instructor describes her driving as "chaotic".

"I felt like a first time learner driver in a car [that was] nearly like a cockpit of an aeroplane," she said.  "I had no control.  It's almost that you don't even know where the indicators are you're so distracted."

Aoife admits she "lost total control".

Texting while driving produces equally scary results with Kevin Geoghegan Moore (24) from Dublin going straight through a red light and stopping inches before hitting a cardboard cutout of a baby in a pram.

Prior to the test Kevin admitted that texting while driving is "one of those things you shouldn't do but I suppose you think, oh I'll just send a quick one.  We all take for granted we can do it."

Afterwards he says, "You can't control a car properly, simple as.  You don't end up doing anything, you can't get the text out and you can't concentrate on the road."

Garda Derek Cloughley reminds viewers that "anybody holding a mobile phone, either in their hand, cradling it on their shoulder, or even in their lap, is committing an offence.

"People don't realise when they take their eyes off the road to look at that phone how far their vehicle has travelled.  You take a scenario where a child runs out or a cyclist pulls out or somebody opens a car door, that is the danger, your car is moving at x metres per second."

How's Your Driving? also looks at how our road and driving habits compare internationally and a mother who lost her son in a car accident when he was just 21-years-old tells her story.

How's Your Driving continues on RTE One at 8.30pm on Monday February 26.

Read more: Man passes breathalyser after two pints but still 'kills child' in staged driving incident on new RTE series 

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