Donegal Road Safety Officer, Brian O'Donnell
Drivers who use a mobile phone while driving are significantly increasing their chances of being involved in a serious or fatal collision, according to Donegal Road Safety Officer, Brian O’Donnell.
"Driving is the most dangerous thing we do every day. Mobile phones have become a very important part of everyday life and in an emergency they can be a lifesaver, however, when you are behind the wheel of a car or lorry, they can be a killer," Mr O'Donnell said.
"Distracted driving causes collisions, and using or holding a mobile phone while driving is a prime example of distracted driving. On average 76 people are detected every day using a mobile and driving but there are many more motorists that are not caught and every one of them is driving distracted, increasing risk on the road for all road users," the road safety officer added.
“Drivers who use a mobile phone while driving is significantly increasing their chances of being involved in a serious or fatal collision. We need to continue to educate the public that this behaviour is completely unacceptable. Using a phone behind the wheel not only puts your life at risk, but that of other innocent road users.”
Distracted driving could be a factor in 20-30% of all collisions in Ireland. This means that driver distraction could be a contributory factor in over 1,400 fatal and injury collisions annually. Almost 28,000 people were detected holding a mobile phone while driving in 2016 and on average every day, 76 people are detected using their phones while driving.
“Given the tragic consequences which can result from any driver using a mobile phone when driving, it is important that all drivers understand the consequences of their actions," Mr O Donnell said.
“The risks associated with using a phone while behind the wheel have always been very clear. Any driver will be distracted by a phone call or text message as it affects the ability to concentrate and anticipate the road ahead, putting the driver and other road users at risk”.
“Drivers who think they can drive and use a mobile phone are only fooling themselves. Distraction reduces hazard perception and increases reaction times in a similar way to drink-driving, making drivers much more likely to be involved in a collision”.
Mr O’Donnell said everyone has a part to play in encouraging their family and friends not to use their phones while driving saying “it is as inexcusable as drink driving”.
“The use of mobile phones while driving is widespread and sadly the attitudes of many motorists have relaxed towards this illegal and dangerous activity. When you are driving, you should be focused on the road and hope that other drivers are also. No call, text or email is so important, that you risk your life or someone else’s life," he added.