Garda says traffic speeds up as volume reduced during pandemic

Operation Slow Down to see high visibility enforcement operation from Friday morning

Gardaí said  excessive speed was found to be a contributory factor in almost one third of fatal collisions between 2008 and 2012. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Gardaí said excessive speed was found to be a contributory factor in almost one third of fatal collisions between 2008 and 2012. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Vehicle speed has increased on Irish roads amid a reduction in traffic during Covid-19, gardaí have said ahead of preparations for a national crack down on speeding this weekend.

Over a 24 hour period from 7am this Friday, there will be a high visibility Garda speed enforcement operation across 1,322 zones around the country.

Last year saw 148 deaths on Irish roads, an increase of eight on 2019. In the run up to this weekend’s campaign, gardaí have also pointed to research showing excessive speed was found to be a contributory factor in almost one third of fatal collisions between 2008 and 2012.

Operation Slow Down, supported by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), aims to remind drivers of the dangers of speeding and to increase compliance with limits.

“Speeding is a factor in a third of fatal crashes each year and those most at risk are vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists,” said Sam Waide, RSA chief executive.

“Hit at 60km/h a pedestrian has only a 10 per cent chance of survival. Hit at 30km/h a pedestrian has a 90 per cent chance of survival. Slowing down behaviour saves lives, particularly when road conditions are wet.”

Chief Superintendent Ray McMahon of the Roads Policing Bureau said that “despite reduced volumes of traffic on our roads the levels of speed has increased”.

As a general rule, gardaí said, a 1 per cent reduction in average speed will result in a 4 per cent reduction in fatal collisions.