USING your mobile phone to check your social media accounts while driving is killer behaviour.
That is the message from the head of the national roads policing unit, superintendent Eddie Golden. Supt Golden was speaking at a checkpoint set up on the N20 at Newtwopothouse yesterday.
He said there have been 93 fatalities this year in 84 collisions. That represents an increase of six on the same period last year.
Six of those fatalities have occurred in the north Cork area, with two occurring last weekend. Three of the north Cork fatalities were motorcyclists.
Supt Golden said: “It is not unique to north Cork, it is not unique to Cork itself.”
He said road victims are of all ages and said that Sunday is the most dangerous day of the week on the roads.
“They [road users] need to do the small things well,” he said. “They need to take that extra look, especially when it comes to vulnerable road users.
“You need to check the mirror twice, you need to look twice.”
He added: “It is the simple things that will make the difference coming into the winter period.”
Supt Golden said that mobile phone use is of major concern, particularly as it no longer is limited to making and receiving phonecalls.
“We are coming into a new era now where distraction of motorists is becoming far more wide,” he said.
“The use of mobile phones was historically putting phones up to your ear. Now, we are finding more and more evidence that people are checking, at traffic lights, their social media. This type of behaviour is a killer behaviour.”
He continued: “If you are in a vehicle, in a car or a truck or whatever, you need to put the phone away.
“It is not acceptable that you would risk everybody’s safety for a moment or two to check your social media account.”
Supt Golden stressed that such actions are breaking the law, with a penalty of three points if caught.
He urged drivers not to use their phones from the minute they sit into their cars and called on passengers to reinforce this message.
“Passengers have a responsibility in this,” he said. “If there is somebody driving a vehicle, who is starting to look at their phones, they need to interject at that stage and say it is not acceptable. We need everybody to take responsibility for this.
“Everybody is on Facebook, Twitter, all these different accounts. It is a habit people are getting into. We need to break that habit and we need, going forward, for people to break that habit.”