ALMOST twice as many men as women have been seen breaking the law by using a mobile phone while driving on Irish roads, a new study has found.
Monitoring of more than 1,000 vehicles found that of those breaking laws, 63pc were men.
The study found that overall, one-in-10 drivers is still illegally using mobile phones while driving.
That's despite the introduction this month of a tougher penalty points system for offences such as holding a phone while driving, which now incurs three points if caught and fines of up to €2,000.
Previously, just two penalty points were imposed on drivers caught holding phones.
The study by tolling company Easytrip involved observing vehicles during peak commute times.
More than 5pc of drivers were seen sending text messages while behind the wheel.
Women were found to be more frequent offenders in relation to sending text messages.
A total of 39pc of women seen using a phone were checking their mobile or texting while stopped at lights.
Meanwhile, talking on the phone was more common among men, who were found to be doing so in 41pc of phone-use cases observed.
Those aged between 40 and 50 were more likely to be caught talking on their phone than other ages. Motorists in their 20s and 30s were the most likely to be seen checking and sending text messages.
A significant number of truck and van drivers were talking on a hand-held phone while driving.
"Holding a mobile while driving, whether you're talking or texting, increases your chance of an accident by up to four times and is lethally dangerous - that is why the new penalties are so severe," Easytrips' general manager Ciara O'Brien said.
"Three months on from the introduction of the new penalties for texting and it seems that a lot of motorists are still ignoring the dangers.
"We urge all our customers, and all motorists in general, to use hands-free technology while driving - or better still, put your mobile phone away altogether," she added.