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200 drivers caught using their mobiles

ALMOST 200 people in Dublin have been issued with penalties over the last two days for using their mobile phones while driving.

Gardai have been specifically targeting people using mobile devices while behind the wheel, as part of a campaign called Operation Artery.

A total of 100 drivers were caught and fined on Thursday while a further 95 were caught yesterday, gardai said.

The campaign involved officers from the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) Traffic Division, along with divisional traffic units.

A series of checkpoints were established around the city and drivers caught on their phones were photographed.

The gardai also used social media to keep road users up-to-date with the latest statistics and to warn against the use of phones while driving.

A garda traffic Twitter account posted pictures of some of the people that were caught driving with a phone.

"You can't see his face but he's laughing, he won't be when he gets 2 pts+fine," gardai tweeted about one van driver, whose face was blocked out.

In another post, officers reported making five detections in one hour near Custom House Quay. It was also reported that 13 detections were made in a single hour in the Blackrock area of the city.

"The purpose of the operation was not only to enforce existing legislation," Assistant Commissioner, John Twomey, said.

"But to also ensure that all road users are protected and to assist in the continuing efforts to reduce fatal and serious road traffic collisions," he added.

New laws were established in 2006 to deal with the dangers caused by drivers who can become distracted while using a mobile phone.

POINTS

The offence includes holding or cradling a phone with any part of your body and the sanction is two penalty points and a €60 fixed-charge fine.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has estimated that using a mobile phone makes a driver four times more likely to crash.

From 2008 to 2009, the number of penalty points issued for driving while using a mobile phone increased by 70pc – from 44,624 to 75,040.

By 2012, more than 100,000 points were issued to motorists for using their phones.

hnews@herald.ie


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