Fianna Fail TD caught Zooming while driving
Young Irish politician is in trouble for Zooming around the streets of Cork in his car
Fianna Fail TD James O'Connor, 23, who is the youngest TD in the Dáil, has been heavily criticised by his own party members for taking part in a Zoom call while driving.
Gardai are considering that taking a Zoom call while driving could be a possible offence under road traffic legislation after images of the Fianna Fáil TD James O’Connor in a group Zoom call while driving.
The Fianna Fail party were having their weekly video conference call on the popular video conferencing platform Zoom when O’Connor was obviously outed by one of his own for ‘Zooming while driving’.
The Cork East TD confirmed to media sources that he was zooming behind the wheel on Wednesday, September 30. The conference meeting was attended by 30 other Fianna Fail party members including TD’s Senators and MEP’s. A spokesperson for the party said:
“Deputy O’Connor attended the Fianna Fàil PP meeting for a brief period via a hands free kit in his car while driving from Mount Street to Leinster House for approximately three minutes.
“Deputy O'Connor made one contribution during the call to the PP meeting once he reached his Leinster House office.”
According to An Garda Síochána, video conferencing in your car while driving is “potentially an offence” that could be punishable on a number of grounds? They also maintain that zooming while driving or video conferencing while driving could be a severe enough offence, that you could lose your licence?
Potential Zooming while driving offences include:
- dangerous driving
- careless driving
- driving without due care and attention
It is reported that one of Mr. O’Connor’s own colleagues was so shocked that the young TD would do such a thing that he reported him to the media. This other TD who was on the same Zoom call told a media outlet:
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw him.
“At first I thought someone had put in a video of James Corden in his Carpool Karaoke sketches.
“I thought it was a joke but it is, of course, a very serious matter.”
Even though there is absolutely no specific Zoom offence law, the Gardaí are taking this incident quite seriously.
It would seem they are looking to prosecute anyone who is caught zooming while driving.
According to the Gardaí, such an offender can still be punished under the current ‘due care and attention’ legislation depending upon the facts of the case”.
RSA (Road Safety Authority) guidelines are as follows:
- Using a hands-free kit with your phone is not illegal
- RSA say that Hands-free kits should never be used while driving
- Hands-free communications can be distracting and puts other road users at risk
- You can be prosecuted for dangerous driving, careless driving or driving without due care and attention because of this.
- You could have your licence endorsed or even lose your licence
- A mobile and driving offence carries a fixed charge notice of €60.
- If you pay the fixed penalty charge you will get 3 penalty points
- If you do not to pay and are then convicted in court you will get 5 penalty points and a fine of up to €2,000
- If you have over 12 penalty points you will be disqualified
- Novice and Learner drivers have a lower threshold of just 7 penalty points
- You can only use your mobile while driving if you are phoning 999 or 112, or in an emergency
- It is an offence to hold a mobile phone in your hand
- It is an offence to support a mobile phone with another part of your body, for example between your head and shoulder
- It is illegal to send or read a text message on a mobile phone while driving