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Christmas Road Safety Campaign message from Supt

Christmas Road Safety Campaign message from Supt. Noel Kelly

AN Garda Síochána want everyone to enjoy the Christmas Holiday period in safety, writes Noel Kelly, Western Regional Traffic Superintendent.

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:-

1. Driving while intoxicated.

2. Speeding.

3. Dangerous/Careless driving.

4. Failure to wear seat belts.

5. Lighting of vehicles.

6. 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 Western Region Road Safety Christmas Campaign 2016 began on 1st December, 2016, and will end on 6th January, 2017.

This campaign has seen over 60 checkpoints per day carried out across the region. This year, there will be again, a morning element to a percentage of those checkpoints focusing on drink rriving.

As part of the Campaign, the enforcement of all Road Traffic legislation will be increased and large urban towns will be given special attention on weekend nights.

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.

These include:-

• Road type.

• Weather conditions.

• Traffic volumes.

Drivers need to drive at an appropriate speed for the conditions and traffic volumes, and take regular breaks. Ensure that everyone in the vehicle is wearing their safety belt and that all children are in a suitable safety seat. Never ever drive having consumed alcohol or drugs and never ever take a lift from a driver whom you know has consumed alcohol or drugs.

All road users are responsible for their own safety. One simple step is the wearing of a seatbelt. Remember that without a seatbelt, your chance of surviving a Road Traffic Collision is significantly reduced and you also put the lives of others at serious risk. If you crash, you will be thrown around the car, potentially causing serious injury to your family, loved ones or friends.

Cyclists and pedestrians are asked to wear appropriate clothing during hours of darkness; 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.

Pedestrians and cyclists should ensure that they are wearing High Viz. clothing while on the roads and to be conscious of their safety at all times.

An Garda Síochána are asking all road users to act responsibly and safely on the roads. Drink-driving destroys lives – at best, you could lose your licence but far worse, and far more difficult to live with, is the possibility of seriously injuring or killing someone on the roads.

Drivers are urged to take all necessary steps to ensure that their vehicles are safe and in particular, I would encourage drivers to ensure that their cars have tyres fitted that comply with current regulations, up to standard and roadworthy. Tyres should be checked to make sure they are not bald or damaged.

Since the 17th April, 2016, tyre related offences are now subject to penalty points. While vehicle factors have played a role in fatal collisions in the period 2008 to 2013, defective tyres was the most significant factor identified in almost two thirds of collisions as contributing to the collisions.

Gardaí will be patrolling the roads network throughout Western Region over the Bank Holiday Weekend period in both marked and unmarked vehicles and would like to remind drivers that in addition to mandatory breath testing, they can breath-tested if they commit any road traffic offence.

In particular, I would remind drivers of the dangers of driving the morning after the night before. 12% of all drink driving arrests occur between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. and of those, almost a third happen on a Sunday, peaking between 11 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. It’s just not worth the chance if you are still over the legal limit.

The safest thing to do if you’re heading out for the night is to plan your journey home by organising a lift, a taxi or using public transport. I would also encourage people to look out for each other – if your friend or relative is under the influence of alcohol, make sure they get home safely.

The stark reality is that to date this year, 182 people have been killed on Irish roads, 34 more than the same period last year. 166 people lost their lives on Irish roads in 2015. 28 persons have been killed on Western roads to date in 2016 and 10 of those have been in Galway, 4 in Mayo, 4 in Clare and 10 in Roscommon.

Any enquiries you may wish to make or interviews that you may wish to conduct with Garda representatives regarding this media release will be accommodated by Superintendent Noel Kelly, Oranmore, Galway – 086 8281300

We wish all road users a safe and Happy Christmas and New Year. We ask everyone to remember to ensure any action they might take while using the roads does not result in the loss of a life or serious injury to anyone.

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