Garda will be carrying out a 24hr road safety operation this weekend to enforce speed limits after a significant increase in road deaths so far this year.
There have been 56 road deaths in Ireland this year, 5 more than were seen in the same period last year.
The restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 crisis have led to fewer cars on the road, but there has also been an increase in the number of vulnerable pedestrians out walking.
One example gardaí gave of the extremely excessive speeds seen in April was a vehicle detected doing 105km/hr in a 50km/hr zone on the N6 at Ballinfoile.
To combat this An Garda Síochána are carrying out ‘Slow Down Day’, a 24hr national speed enforcement operation, with the support of the Road Safety Authority.
The operation will consist of high visibility speed enforcement in 1322 speed enforcement zones running from 7am on Friday, right through the day and night until the same time on Saturday.
Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary of the Roads Policing Bureau said that this day is about making our roads and communities safer.
“Despite the reductions in traffic associated with COVID-19 we have continued to see a small percentage of motorists who travel at excessively high speeds both in urban and rural areas.
“In these times with more vulnerable persons on our roads, pedestrians and cyclists, we appeal to motorists to be aware of the posted speed limits and also while travelling to be conscious of the presence of other road users.
“We are appealing for all motorists to drive safely and please don’t be one of those detected speeding on Slow Down day”.
For their part the gardaí will “maintain our focus on non-compliant drivers as they pose a risk to themselves and other road users,” Superintendent Cleary added.
There were 141 deaths recorded on Irish roads in 2019, and an analysis of fatal collisions between 2008 and 2012 by the RSA found that excessive speed was a factor in almost a third of road deaths.
The higher the speed, the greater the likelihood is of a collision happening and the more severe the outcome of that collision.
As a general rule a 1% reduction in average speed will bring about a 4% reduction in fatal collisions, and this is why reducing motorists’ speed is essential to improving road safety.
Mr. John Caulfield of the RSA said “Even though traffic volumes have reduced, the need for drivers to slow down has never been greater.
“Anyone out driving will probably encounter large numbers of people out walking, jogging and cycling within five kilometres of their homes.”
“Care also needs to be taken by pedestrians, to ensure their safety, by using a footpath. Where there is none, they need to walk as near as possible to the right-hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic.”