Gardaí appeal to Longford road users to be cautious over Christmas and New Year

News Reporter

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To date in 2016, ten people have died on the roads of the counties that make up the Roscommon / Longford Garda division.

An Garda Síochána want to ensure that those numbers do not increase over the Christmas and New Year period, so that families do not have to suffer as a result of the death of a loved one because of a road traffic collision.

An Garda Síochána want everyone to enjoy the Christmas Holiday period in safety. We are particularly anxious to ensure that persons using a vehicle are aware of our Christmas holiday enforcement campaign which will be focusing on the following areas:-

Driving while intoxicated,
Speeding,
Dangerous / Careless driving,
Failure to wear seat belts,
Lighting of vehicles and
Distraction driving i.e. use of mobile phones, ipods and driver fatigue.

The objective of the Garda enforcement operation is to reduce Road Traffic Collisions, Save Lives, and Reduce injuries and to remind Drivers of the dangers of speeding on our roads.

The enforcement operations will consist of additional deployment of personnel across the Western Garda Region over the Bank Holiday period. The operations will consist of Mandatory Alcohol Testing Checkpoints both during daylight and at night, the use of all speed enforcement technologies i.e. laser handheld devices, Robot Vans, In-car detection systems and Go Safe vehicles in the various speed enforcement zones.

To complement the above, there will also be an element of covert enforcement which will target Drink Driving, Dangerous Driving, Distraction Driving and Speeding.

Motorists are advised that inappropriate speed, Drink driving, seatbelts, poor vehicle lighting and faulty tyres are the greatest contributory factors to road deaths and serious injuries at this time of the year.

The Christmas holiday period is a typically high risk periods due to the high volumes of traffic on the National Road network. Over this period, many people will set out to visit family and friends and in doing so, some will undertake long road journeys.

Drivers are urged to be vigilant and to take all necessary steps to ensure their safety and the safety of other road users. Drivers should allow plenty of time for their journeys and not to drive if they are tired.

Drivers should pay attention to the speed limit signs posted on all roads but, especially on entering built up areas. Garda enforcement activity will be conducted on sections of the road network that have a propensity for speed related collisions and will target all vehicles, including commercial vehicles of all classifications.

In partnership with the Road Safety Authority, we are urging drivers to ‘wake up’ to the dangers of driver fatigue. It is estimated that driver fatigue has been a contributory factor in as many as 1 in 5 driver deaths in Ireland each year. It is accepted that Bank Holidays weekend periods are dangerous primarily by reason of the fact that more people are travelling and travelling longer distances than usual. Fatigue related collisions are not always confined to one person but usually end up having a direct impact on drivers, passengers, and other road users and pedestrians.

We would urge drivers to take precautions when driving. Drivers need to factor in breaks into their journeys, especially if travelling with children. Ensure that you are rested before commencing a journey and if feeling tired, pull over, take a 15 – 20 minute nap followed by a cup of coffee and some fresh air. Remember, don’t try and fight sleep at the wheel. Turning up the radio or opening the window will not cure tiredness. The only cure is rest / sleep.

The Garda Síochána's Road Safety Christmas Campaign 2016 began on December 1 and will end on January 6. This campaign has seen checkpoints carried out each day across the region.  This year, there will be again, a morning element to a percentage of those checkpoints focusing on Drink Driving.

Last year, during the campaign in Roscommon/Longford, there were 14 detections of drink drving, 19 for driving without wearing a seat belt, 21 for driving while using a mobile phone and 44 for driving over the speed limit. 

An Garda Síochána urge all road users to take responsibility for their safety while using our roads. In particular, pedestrians should ensure that they are wearing High Viz clothing while out walking on the roads. Remember “Be Safe, Be Seen”. Drivers are urged to slow down and to remember that a speed limit is a legal maximum not a target and that it may not be appropriate when other conditions are taken into account.