Straight Talk­ing

Bray People - - NEWS - MARISA REIDY

IT'S NO se­cret that one of the big­gest de­ter­rents for people, no mat­ter what the of­fence, is to hit them where it hurts - in their pock­ets - so I'm not at all sur­prised by last week's an­nounce­ment that un­der new leg­is­la­tion divers caught tex­ting and us­ing smart­phones could face a fine of up to €1,000 for their first of­fence.

From May 1, of­fend­ers will be given a manda­tory court sum­mons and a fine in­stead of just penalty points, with fines set to rise to a max­i­mum of €2,000 for a sec­ond of­fence and a pos­si­ble three-month jail sen­tence along with a €2,000 fine for three of­fences or more within a 12-month pe­riod.

I'm not even go­ing to try and pre­tend that I've never done it, be­cause I'd be ly­ing. I hold my hands up and ad­mit I have been guilty of send­ing the odd text and cer­tainly read­ing a text or chat­ting on the phone while driv­ing.

What's worse is that the only rea­son I now think twice about do­ing it is be­cause of the threat of penalty points rather than a fear of the dan­gers of driv­ing while on the phone.

I'm sure I'm not alone in that re­gard, just as I'm sure I'm not the only one who will be keep­ing my phone far from reach now that this new leg­is­la­tion is in­tro­duced.

I think this lat­est move by trans­port min­is­ter Leo Varad­kar is ge­nius and will un­doubt­edly make people think twice be­fore play­ing around with their phone while driv­ing. Granted, the rea­son for the change in at­ti­tude might not be the most ad­mirable one, but who cares if it does the job?

There aren't too many people who would rel­ish the idea of a court ap­pear­ance and even fewer in this day and age who can af­ford to part with €1,000.

It's a bril­liant move on be­half of the govern­ment and one that should be in­tro­duced in other ar­eas, par­tic­u­larly with re­gard to driv­ers smok­ing with chil­dren in the car.

I know the smok­ing ban is a whole other area and doesn't come un­der Min­is­ter Varad­kar's remit but wouldn't it be fan­tas­tic if par­ents were hit with sim­i­lar penal­ties for in­flict­ing their smoke on in­no­cent chil­dren?

It ab­so­lutely sick­ens me to see adults puff­ing away on a cig­a­rette with chil­dren in the back seats and if I'm hon­est there isn't a penalty large enough to deal with them. But who knows, maybe a sim­i­lar ap­proach might ac­tu­ally stop this vile be­hav­iour.

It's cer­tainly worth think­ing about...

I see things must be fi­nally start­ing to pick up a bit in the build­ing trade

these days? Nah...still just pick­ing up the pieces af­ter the crash!

The new leg­is­la­tion will un­doubt­edly make people think twice be­fore play­ing around with their phone while driv­ing.

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