Month marked by 25 road fatalities 'catastrophic'
JUNE WAS a “catastrophic month” for road fatalities and must not be repeated, chief executive of the road safety authority Noel Brett has said.
The road safety chief was speaking at the announcement of a new Garda anti-speeding initiative, Operation Slow Down, and said road users were in danger of sliding back into bad habits and, consequently, putting lives at risk.
With 96 road deaths June had been a “horrendous month” which was one of the worst in terms of road safety for several years, he said.
“It has been an absolutely catastrophic month. My own chairman, my own board and all the other agencies involved, we are really, really perturbed at this stage.”
Three people had already died on the roads in July, making an urgent transformation in people’s behaviour essential.
“If we keep on going like we are going we will be back up over 200 fatalities or higher this year. That is extremely concerning. It is a short six years ago we were killing more than one person per day and we just cannot countenance going back to that position.”
From 7am next Friday to 7am on Saturday the Garda will run Operation Slow Down which aims to to raise awareness of the dangers of inappropriate and excessive speed and reduce the number of speed-related collisions, deaths, and injuries.
Garda statistics indicate that Fridays and Saturdays have the highest proportion of fatal collisions and July and August were the worst months for fatal crashes.
During the 24-hour period gardaí will be setting up information points in areas of high footfall, such as shopping centres and will be available to give road safety advice and distribute leaflets. Gardaí who are not responding to emergency calls will be leading by example – reducing their speed, and driving at speeds appropriate to the prevailing conditions.
There will be highly visible speed checkpoints on national primary and secondary roads, carried out by local gardaí and the Garda Traffic Corps, and also by GoSafe vans.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said motorists needed to stop seeing speed limits as a target.
“When you are faced with adverse weather, road or traffic conditions, the most effective way to keep safe is to slow down and give yourself more time to adapt to all that is happening around you. We are appealing to all vehicle drivers to keep within the speed limits, and when necessary, slow down,” said the commissioner.