'Tell parents I said to switch off phone while driving' – Garda chief

An assembly hall full of primary school children told on their parents to new Garda Commissioner Drew Harris for using mobile phones while they were driving.

He was in Westmeath to launch the road safety campaign directed at 40,000 school children in the midlands. The ‘Be Safe, Be Seen’ campaign will provide children in schools across Laois, Offaly and Westmeath with hi-vis jackets and stickers as dark winter evenings approach.

Commissioner Harris was joined at Scoil an Chlochair in Kilbeggan by 250 children, doctors from the Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore, Fire Service staff, National Ambulance Service crews and an Air Ambulance.

Tullamore Rotary Club President Ronan Berry asked them: “Hands up, who has seen mammy or daddy checking their phone while driving?” – and almost every child raised their hand.

Commissioner Harris said: “If your mum or dad or anybody else is driving on the mobile phone, tell them the commissioner said you have to switch it off.”

In Ireland, 35pc of all childhood deaths are caused by road accidents and half are pedestrians.

More than 60pc of seriously injured children are hurt on the road, the majority of them walking or cycling.

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