ALERT: Major Garda crackdown on motorists using mobiles over Easter
KILKENNY motorists have been urged to put their mobile phones away while driving as gardai prepare to launch the biggest Easter road safety campaign in recent years.
The campaign comes against the backdrop of an alarming rise in road fatalities, which are up 11% on 2018.
There has also been a massive 24pc hike in the number of drivers caught using their mobile phone while behind the wheel, with 5,000 motorists detected in January and February.
A total of 50 people have died on Irish roads since January 1. This compares to 45 for the same period in 2018.
Gardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) launched the Easter bank holiday weekend road safety campaign with the focus on speeding and motorists who still insist on their phones while driving.
The campaign is the biggest test of the year so far for gardaí, with an estimated two million people taking to the roads for festive journeys.
Assistant Commissioner David Sheahan warned they will have a “highly visible enforcement presence” over the long weekend.
Gardai will deploy a significant number of unmarked patrol vehicles – particularly targeting motorists using mobile phones while behind the wheel.
RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock urged motorists to obey the rules of the road.
“Using your mobile phone while driving makes you four times more likely to crash. Despite this, rational, intelligent people continue to text, make phone calls and check their social media accounts,” she said.