New laws in relation to the use of mobile phones while driving

The new laws in relation to the use of mobile phones whilst driving are coming into effect on 1st May, 2014.

As of that date, drivers caught talking, texting or “accessing information” on mobile or smartphones, even if it is a hands-free kit, will be given a mandatory court summons and a fine instead of just penalty points.

The news rules mean that for a first offence anyone caught will face a mandatory court appearance and a fine of up to €1,000.  For a second offence will rise to a maximum of €2,000 and a possible three-month jail sentence, along with €2,000 fine, for three offences or more within a 12-month period.

There will no longer be on-the-spot fines or immediate penalty points for anyone caught texting, even though a judge can subsequently apply points as well as fines.

Penalty points could be applied at the scene by the Gardai for the parallel offence of using a mobile phone.

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