Study reveals Irish drivers’ thoughts on using phones while driving


An unpublished study presented to the Government and Gardaí has uncovered Irish drivers’ thoughts on using mobile phones at the wheel.

The report, which has been curated by the University of Galway and commissioned by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), has discovered that many Irish drivers think that the risk of being caught using the phone at the wheel is “close to zero”.

Numerous focus groups of Irish drivers were surveyed, and they subsequently admitted that they are too addicted to their phones, and have too much of a habit of using them while driving, to stop doing so voluntarily. 

Shockingly, the report also stated that drivers believe that increased detection and enforcement is the “only” way to truly force them to stop the dangerous habit.

International experts involved in the research explained that fixed cameras to detect phone use at the wheel, as well as “increased police effort”, could be used as efforts to help solve the issue. 

They also admitted that the RSA’s ongoing public campaigns against phones at the wheel are not powerful enough to encourage drivers to stop the habit.

At a meeting of the Ministerial Road Safety Committee in March, it was stated that Gardaí caught 35% less drivers using their phone last year compared to 2019.

Gardaí representatives detailed that they caught two people every hour in January and February using their phone while driving, issuing over 3,000 fixed charge notices overall.

The meeting was later told that international research suggests that using your phone while driving increases the risk of a crash fourfold.

However, the University of Galway’s report concluded that mobile phone use is happening across the population and with drivers of all ages. Experts have since warned that campaigns should not be aimed only at younger drivers, in order to help lower the number of collisions from mobile phones.