There has been a nine per cent increase in fatalities on Irish roads to date in 2020, (143 compared to 131), and with the period between Christmas and New Year’s a traditionally dangerous time on the roads, a new campaign aims to encourage road users to be extra cautious over the festive period.
An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority (RSA), Dublin Fire Brigade and the Department of Transport, are urging road users to act responsibly and safely when using the roads throughout the Christmas and New Year period.
According to Garda figures, 18 lives have been lost on our roads between St. Stephen’s Day and New Year’s Day in last five years.
The lifting of Covid-19 restrictions to allow people to travel across county borders, ahead of Christmas, will mean additional traffic on Irish roads. With the expectation of higher volumes, the RSA is asking drivers to allow additional time for journeys, take breaks and to be extra vigilant for vulnerable road users.
Chief Superintendent, Ray McMahon, Garda National Roads Policing Bureau said: “An Garda Síochána is committed to reducing fatalities and serious injuries on our roads and my colleagues throughout the country, will be present on the roads over the Christmas period.
“We will be focusing on the main killer behaviours that lead to death and injury; we have seen high numbers of drivers being detected for speeding and drink driving in recent months and we will continue to target these irresponsible behaviours.
“Traffic volumes have reduced by approximately 30 per cent on average this year and yet the numbers of people we have caught speeding on our roads has increased by over one quarter.”
Mr McMahon added: “Drink Driving continues to be an issue that we will focus on over this Christmas period and while the numbers of people offending has reduced broadly in line with traffic volumes, the same cannot be said for those driving under the influence of drugs.
“Since the Christmas campaign started on December 4, the numbers of Drug Drivers has doubled compared to the same period last year (102% increase). We have witnessed this trend right throughout 2020. We know the carnage that this type of driving can cause to our road users.
“We witness it when we have to go to these fatal and serious collisions, and we witness the devastation it can have on the families concerned. So, we will focus strongly on drug driving as well as drink driving this Christmas period.
“Please do not take unnecessary risks – keep our roads, and your loved ones safe this Christmas and New Year.”