Tomorrow will see the start of a major Garda blitz against drivers using mobile phones. New laws are on the way from next month which make it an offence to send or read a text message - or to even hold or touch a mobile phone while driving.
Under the legislation, making a call or holding a phone will result in 2 penalty points and a €60 fine payable with 28 days. This increases to 4 penalty points and a €90 if paid within 28 to 56 days.
The Regulations make it an offence to send or read a text (including SMS, MMS or e-mail) from a mobile phone while driving. Sending or reading a text but does not include anything done without touching the phone, or through voice activation.
The offence is punishable on conviction with a fine of up to €1,000 for the first offence.
Gardaí say the aim of this 48-hour operation is to educate drivers on the risks of using their phones behind the wheel.
What is being called a "targeted mobile phone enforcement operation" aims to make drivers aware of the dangers of using a mobile phone as well as detect offending motorists.
The gardai say provisional figures from a previous national mobile phone operation in March 2014 saw a 300% increase in detections above the average daily detection rate.
Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey says it is one of the most common offences on our roads.
"In 2013, there were 28,000 offences, while in 2014 in the first quarter almost 10,000 offences have been detected - and that represents a 60% increase" he said.
"It reflects today's society in how mobile phone use has become an integral part of our everyday life; but what we must be aware of, is the dangers and risks it poses" he added.