Drivers are being urged to put away their mobile phones when driving this Easter weekend, as new figures show that almost 5,000 drivers were caught by Gardai holding their phone while driving in the first 2 months of this year - an increase of 24% on the same period last year.

The Road Safety Authority has expressed concern at the figures, and say using a mobile phone while driving makes a motorist four times more likely to crash.

Gardai have also issued a road safety message ahead of Easter, appealing to motorists to slow down, always wear seatbelts, be well-rested and never drink and drive.

Last Easter, two people were killed and 14 seriously injured over the Bank Holiday weekend, and Superintendent Noel Kelly of the Western Regional Traffic Unit is urging motorists to take extra care and plan ahead for the long weekend.

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