Stamp out the use of mobile phones when driving Deputy Brian Stanley demanded at a Laois Joint Policing Committee meeting.
“They (phones) are the cause of an awful lot of accidents,” said the Sinn Féin TD for Laois after hearing that more than 500 people had been stopped by gardaí for being on the phone while driving.
Deputy Sean Fleming agreed claiming there was a huge amount of people breaking the law.
“I have never driven on any road in the county without seeing somebody on mobile phones,” said the Fianna Fáil TD. “I have seen big lorries with 20 tons on the back of them and their drivers on mobile phones.”
Deputy Fleming asked Gardaí for a breakdown of figures - showing how many people detected using mobile phones were driving cars, and how many were driving lorries.
Earlier, Garda Supt Joe Prendergast had told the meeting that 513 drivers had been detected using mobile phones in Laois last year.
Mobile phone use can make motorists four times more likely to crash and plays a role in 20-30% of all road collisions according to Road Safety Authority.
Drivers caught texting and using mobiles or smartphones, even if they are on a hands-free kit, will be given a mandatory court summons and a fine instead of just penalty points under road safety regulations.
Anyone caught texting or “accessing information” on their phones will face a mandatory court appearance and a fine of up to €1,000 for a first offence.
This will rise to a maximum of €2,000 for a second offence, and a possible three-month jail sentence, along with a €2,000 fine, for three offences or more within a 12-month period.
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