As many as 400,000 Irish drivers could from time to time use their mobile phone while driving, according to a Road Safety Authority (RSA) survey.
The RSA’s Driver Attitudes and Behaviour Survey 2014 tested a representative sample of 1,000 motorists across Ireland, and 42% admitted to being ‘at least sometimes active’ on their phone while driving.
31% of respondents admitted to talking on a handheld mobile, 16% to using their mobile to text and 8% checked apps when driving. Less than half of those surveyed (47%) considered it likely that mobile phone use by drivers would be detected by police.
The survey also revealed that one in three motorists are ‘safety camera manipulators’: they only drive more slowly at camera sites.
More generally, the survey suggests there is broad acceptance of low level speeding among Irish motorists, with 40% of respondents considering it broadly acceptable to exceed the 100km speed limit by less than 10km.
11% of those surveyed admitted to consuming alcohol before driving, which if extended across the population equates to around 284,000 drivers. Of that number, 12% admitted to having less than one drink, 49% one drink, 25% two drinks and 12% three or more drinks before driving.
The survey also revealed that just 40% of respondents with children have had the appropriate car seat checks undertaken by an expert from a retail outlet.
The survey concluded that ‘younger male drivers’ are the most likely to engage in forms of ‘errant behaviour’ on the road. It suggests that they are more likely to overestimate the benefits of speeding and their capacity to drink and drive legally.