The survey shows the Irish are among the worst in Europe when it comes to driving while distracted
New research shows more than a quarter of Irish motorists admit to texting while behind the wheel.
The survey commissioned by Aviva Insurance found that 84% of drivers admit using some form of electronic device while driving.
It shows that 26% of drivers admit to texting at the wheel, 45% make phone calls without a hands free kit and 15% check their social media.
Surveying drivers from 13 countries around the world, the research found that the number of Irish drivers who admit to texting behind the wheel is double that of the UK.
The number of drivers who admit taking calls while driving without using a hands-free kit is also more than double that of the UK.
Only Italian drivers are worse than the Irish when it comes to checking social media behind the wheel.
Aviva spokesperson Michael Bannon said it is “astonishing” to find that so many drivers are taking such risks:
“It does seem that mobile phone use or electronic device use is without doubt one of the greatest distraction for drivers in Ireland,” he said.
“If you look at the number of penalty point notices issues so far for this year for holding a mobile phone while driving – it has almost exceeded the full year of 20167.
“So we have a problem on our hands and it is really something that needs to be assessed by Irish drivers themselves in removing the distraction.”
He said Irish drivers seem in denial over the fact that a split second of distraction can mean death on the road.
“I don’t think they understand the risks at times,” he said. “It only takes a split-second in a lapse of concentration for an accident to happen.”
“The key message for me here is when you are going somewhere, leave in plenty of time, slow down and remove the distractions.”
“Driving should be enjoyable but most importantly it should be safe.
“That is what the Irish driver needs to realise – they need to remove the distraction.”
Technology was not the only distraction for drivers uncovered by the research.
40% of Irish drivers admitted continuing behind the wheel while excessively tired – compared to 30% in the UK.
Six out of every ten Irish drivers admit to eating or drinking while driving - the highest proportion in Europe.
Five people have died on Irish roads in recent days after three women died in Louth last Friday, and two men died in Limerick and Cork yesterday.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has urged motorists to take extra care.