Distracted Driving – MAG Ireland Position Statement

At our 2013 AGM, members voted to adopt a new policy on distracted driving in light of the increase in motorcycle accidents. It is clear from research carried out by the RSA among others that distracted driving (most typically use of a mobile phone while driving) is both a growing problem and a significant contributor to motorcycle accidents where another vehicle is involved.  RSA figures suggest it may be as high as one in four collisions.

MAG Ireland’s position statement on distracted driving is presented as follows:


Distracted driving means paying less than full attention whilst operating a vehicle. This primarily concerns the use of additional devices beyond what is provided as standard vehicle equipment.

Distracted driving includes the use while driving of:
  • Communications equipment such as cellphones and handsfree phones.
  • Devices such as phones or tablets for texting or using apps.
  • The setup and programming interfaces of navigation devices
  • Video equipment such as portable televisions or DVD players
  • Any additional equipment (such as phones or navigation devices) positioned so that they reduce visibility outside the vehicle.

This policy applies to all road users including motorcyclists, cyclists and car drivers as well as drivers of goods, construction, agricultural or public transport vehicles.

Actions taken to reduce distract driving should include:


  • A larger percentage of public road safety education spending to be in this area
  • Inclusion of knowledge of distracted driving issues and penalties in the driving test
  • Inclusion of distracted driving policies in the safety requirements of employers


  • More rigorous enforcement of the existing laws in this area
  • Increased levels of prosecutions under the existing careless driving offences where appropriate
  • Inclusion of phone usage records in all post-accident investigations

Research & Engineering

  • Funding of national and european level safety research on distracted driving
  • Investigation of options for automated detection and enforcement of mobile usage in vehicles

Distracted driving is responsible for a large and growing percentage of accidents internationally. Mobile phone bans are both widespread and openly flouted. The incidence of mobile phone use while driving is unacceptably high and public awareness of the seriousness of the issue is astoundingly low when compared to drink driving to which it is comparable in effect.

Some countries (including Portugal) have banned handsfree use. Handsfree phones are not a solution. Research shows it is the act of carrying out a conversation which increases accident risk regardless of mode.

MAG Ireland will aim to increase awareness of the distracted driving issue and will work to highlight the particular risks posed to motorcyclists.

MAG Ireland has previously posted about the risks of distracted driving. See: