An Garda Síochána urge caution on the roads this weekend

Longford Leader Reporter

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An Garda Síochána urge caution on the roads this bank holiday weekend

An Garda Síochána to host series of Longford checkpoints as part of enforcement campaign. An Garda Síochána have prosecuted 734 people for intoxicated driving in February 2020

An Garda Síochána wants everyone to enjoy the forthcoming weekend in advance of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities in safety. 

With this in mind, they are anxious to ensure anyone using a vehicle is aware of their weekend Enforcement Campaign which will target:

  • Failure to wear Seat Belts.
  • Distraction Driving, i.e. use of Mobile Phones, iPods, etc. and Fatigue.
  • Drink & Drug Driving.
  • Speeding

This Bank Holiday period, An Garda Síochána is again appealing to all road users to take extra care when using the roads.There will be an increase in traffic as many will set out to visit family and friends, travelling to different parts of the country, which will involve undertaking long road journeys. 

A total of 33 people have died on Irish roads so far this year – up three on the same period in 2019. Drivers and passengers account for nearly three-quarters of all road fatalities, Garda figures show while, in one in three fatalities, no seat-belt was worn.

The figures show an  increase of nearly 30% for the year to date. Of the 33 people who have lost their lives in fatal collisions, 8 have been pedestrian, 15 have been drivers and 7 were passengers. Other factors such as excessive or inappropriate speed, given weather or road conditions, and intoxicated driving, are also significant factor in fatal and serious road collisions.

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In 2018, nearly one in three of vehicular fatalities had no safety belt on at the time of the collision. Early investigations indicate this trend has continued into 2019. Other factors such as excessive or inappropriate speed (weather or road conditions) and intoxicated driving (both drink & drugs) are also significant factors in fatal road traffic collisions. Safety-belts are proven life-savers and should be worn every time, one takes a journey in a vehicle.

Another factor in collisions has been the use of mobile phones. People should not be using hand held mobile phones while driving and likewise, persons should not be checking their mobile phones for messages etc, while driving. You cannot concentrate on driving if you are also checking the contents of your phone. Garda enforcement data show a total of 11,541 persons were prosecuted for failing to wear a safety-belt in 2019 – a 5% increase on the previous year. 

In February 2020, there has been 734 prosecutions for intoxicated driving, an increase of 39 on the January figure. A total of 680 drivers were pulled up for not wearing a seat-belt in the same month, compared with January. There were over 5,000 speeding incidents detected, a hike of 5% on the previous January, while 2,100 drivers were caught using mobile phones, an increase of 564 on  December 2019 figures. 

This Bank Holiday Weekend An Garda Síochána are asking road users to act responsibly and make this Bank Holiday period a safe time for everyone. All persons using a vehicle should be aware of our Road Safety campaign scheduled for this weekend. The objective of this campaign is to reduce Road Traffic Collisions, Save Lives, and Reduce Injuries on our roads. 

Drivers are urged to pay attention to the speed limit signs 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.

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Longford -

Gardaí have confirmed that they will be patrolling the road network throughout the North Western Region (which includes Galway, Mayo, Roscommon and Longford) over the Bank Holiday period, in both marked and unmarked vehicles.

They will be targeting Driving while intoxicated with a special concentration/emphasis on the detection of persons Drug Driving, Dangerous Driving, Distraction Driving and Speeding. The enforcement period will extend from the March 13-18, 2020.

A series of Mandatory Alcohol Testing Checkpoints will be conducted both during daylight hours and at night. There will also be an element of covert enforcement targeting Dangerous / Careless Driving, Distraction Driving and Speeding.  We want to remind everyone using the roads this weekend to think safety and drive at a speed appropriate to road and weather conditions.  

Drivers are reminded that in addition to mandatory breath testing, they can be breath-tested/drug tested if they commit any road traffic offence. Drivers are urged to take all necessary steps to ensure that their vehicles are safe.

Ensure that cars have tyres fitted that comply with current regulations, are up to standard and roadworthy – as tyre offences are subject to penalty points. Over the past number of years, defective tyres were the most significant contributory factor identified in almost two thirds of fatal collisions. Drivers should also ensure that all the vehicle lights are in good working order.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend drivers are urged to:

  • Slow down and drive at appropriate speed – take into account road type/condition, weather conditions and traffic volumes.
  • Allow plenty of time for your journey - take regular breaks – do not drive if you are tired or try to fight the tiredness – pull over, take a 15/20 minute nap followed by a coffee and some fresh air.
  • Ensure everyone in vehicles is wearing their safety belt – Don’t take a chance – “Buckle Up”.
  • Make sure all children are in a suitable safety seat.
  • Don’t Drink and Drive or use Drugs while driving.  -  If using a car, Park it, Lock it and Leave it.4    -

Gardaí are also urging vulnerable road users - such as cyclists and pedestrians - to make sure that they are wearing High Viz. clothing right throughout the day but especially during hours of darkness.  Pedestrians need to understand that if they are out socialising they need to make arrangements to get home safely as research shows that alcohol could be a factor in almost a third of pedestrian deaths.

In turn, cyclists should ensure they have the correct lights and that they are in working order and at all times they are obliged to adhere to the Rules of the Road. Motorists are asked to be conscious of cyclists and pedestrians using the roads. 

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An Garda Síochána has the following advice for people planning to socialise over the bank holiday weekend period:

  • Plan ahead. Make sure you know how you’re getting home, whether by taxi, with a designated driver or public transport.
  • Be well rested before commencing your journey and take a rest if tired.
  • Never drive having consumed alcohol or drugs and never ever take a lift from a driver whom you know has consumed alcohol or drugs.  Remember, any amount of alcohol impairs your driving – so leave the car at home, arrange alternative transport, or stick to the soft drinks.
  • Don’t walk home if you’re drunk. Almost a third of pedestrians killed on our roads have consumed alcohol. 

 In particular, drivers should be fully aware of the dangers of driving the morning after the night before. Approximately 1 in 10 drink driving arrests occur between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.  So it is critical that drivers take measures to ensure their safety and the safety of others and this means leaving the car at home and taking a taxi or public transport the morning after if they need to get somewhere.

Passengers are reminded to wear seatbelts and to understand that there is a close link between alcohol consumption and the non-wearing of seatbelts in fatality statistics. 

The message from An Garda Síochána for all road users over this Bank Holiday is: “Please make sensible choices when using the roads.

"Never, ever drink and drive, Slow down, Wear a Seatbelt and Don’t use a Mobile Phone while Driving. Park It, Lock It & Leave It. 

"Whatever type of road user you are, never take a risk on the road- it’s just not worth it."

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