2019 saw a four per cent increase in road traffic fatalities with 148 deaths on the road, up seven on the same period in 2018.Serious injury collisions are up one per cent at 1,136 and An Garda Síochána is committed to reversing the upward trend in road traffic fatalities/serious collisions incidents for 2020.
A month of action in respect of Road Safety will take place for the month of February. The month of Action will focus on a number of areas to improve road safety: enforcement of road traffic legislation to promote compliance; high visibility interactive patrols to deny criminals use of the road network; and improved technology.
While the month of action will target all road traffic offences particular emphasis has been placed on the enforcement of key “lifesaver” offences: The use of mobile phones while driving; the non-wearing of seat belts – front and rear; speeding; driving while intoxicated (DWI); and dangerous driving
Additional Speed checks will be conducted across the country which will coincide with the rollout of two new types of speed detection devices. Training in the new speed detection equipment is ongoing and will be completed by all roads policing member during the month of February. This new technology will provide An Garda Síochána with the latest speed detection technology, which will increase the number of speed checks and make the roads safer.
Mobile phone enforcement operations
Driver distraction creates a real risk to road users yet it is clearly visible to all of us that a significant proportion of drivers still use their mobile phone while driving. During the month of action Gardai will be proactive in issuing FCPN’s notices for these offences. Members of the public are reminded that this offence carries three penalty points and a €60 fine.
Detections for Seatbelt offences in 2019 showed an increase of three per cent when compared with the number of detections made in 2018.
Driving While Intoxicated Operations
Driving While Intoxicated enforcement will focus on the detection of both alcohol and drug driving offences. Driving While Intoxicated detections for 2019 showed an increase of five per cent when compared with the number of detections for 2018.
For the period from January 1 to January 30, 2020 there were 741 arrests for Driving Under the Influence. Of these 489 were over the legal limit. 170 of these arrests were for Drug- Driving offences. (with results pending on other cases) Over the same period in 2019 there were 600 arrests for driving while intoxicated.
The RSA found that in 867 fatal collisions examined, 38 per cent involved a driver, motorcyclist, cyclist or pedestrian who had consumed alcohol.
In 2019 statistic show that one in 10 drivers were detected for incidents of Driving While Intoxicated the morning after the night before. DWI Operations and Checkpoints will be conducted to remind motorists of the dangers of the Morning after.
Multi agency checkpoints
Multi-Agency/Bi-Lateral Operations will be conducted by An Garda Síochána with the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and other external agencies during the month.
TISPOL Operation Truck and Bus
Divisional Roads Policing Units will be conducted operations in respect of Trucks and Buses during the month . PSV Inspectors along with Road Policing Units will be participating in these checks.
Cyclist are vulnerable road users and every effort must be made to ensure that where cycle lanes have been made available, that they are accessible to the cyclist. Each Divisional Roads Policing Unit and Community Policing Unit will ensure that regular patrols are conducted in areas where cycle lanes are provided and where vehicles are obstructing these lanes appropriate action will be taken.
Garda Members are aware of the new offence of ‘Dangerous overtaking of a Pedal Cycle’ and where such incidents are reported they will be fully investigated. The Road Safety Authority will be running radio advertisement throughout the month highlighting this issue.
Superintendent Eddie Golden said: “I would also appeal to pedal cyclists to be aware of the fixed charge notices which apply to them on the public road. Cyclists have a responsibility to stay within the rules of the road for the safety of all”
Enforcement of other offences
Whilst there is a focus on the key “lifesaver” offences, An Garda Síochána will continue to enforce other road traffic offences. The new Garda mobility devices allows members of AGS to check and identify disqualified drivers as well as a number of other issues.