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.