Ireland on course for lowest number of road fatalities since records began

Gardaí launch high visibility operation to reduce speeding

According to garda figures, 28,454 motorists were speed-checked in the first three hours of National Slow Down Day on Friday with 44 being caught speeding. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

According to garda figures, 28,454 motorists were speed-checked in the first three hours of National Slow Down Day on Friday with 44 being caught speeding. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Ireland looks set to have the lowest number of road deaths this year since records began, according to gardaí who mounted a high-visibility campaign on Friday to mark National Slow Down Day.

So far this year 117 people have died on Irish roads compared to 114 on the same date in 2017. There were 157 road deaths last year, the lowest number on record.

However gardaí say “that’s 157 road deaths too many”. Excessive speed is a factor in a third of road deaths, said Chief Superintendent Finbarr Murphy at a speed check in Tallaght on Friday.

“If we can get the speed down we will save lives. And the serious injuries will be reduced to being minor injuries.”

A pedestrian hit by a car travelling at 60kph has a 90 per cent chance of being killed. If the car is travelling at 50kph this falls to a 40 per cent chance. And it falls to five per cent if the car is travelling at 30kph, Chief Supt Murphy said.

In Dublin city centre most road fatalities are pedestrians. The vast majority of these would be avoided if people stayed under the 30kph speed limits in place across much of the city.

The 30kph limit in the city centre has been in place for over a decade. Earlier this year Dublin City Council approved plans to extend the limit to most residential roads in the city and its suburbs.

“People may be injured but they won’t be killed. People driving slower have a greater chance to react and respond and avoid the collision completely,” the garda said.

Chief Supt Murphy said in many cases travelling over the 30kph limit won’t get motorists to their destinations any faster because of traffic light configurations.

For example on the quays in Dublin, most of which are covered by the 30kph limit, going within the speed limit means it takes less time, not more, to do the journey. “Otherwise you’re just accelerating then stopping and waiting at all the lights,” he said.

According to garda figures, 28,454 motorists were speed-checked in the first three hours of National Slow Down Day with 44 being caught speeding. In Mount Brown, Dublin a motorist was caught doing 75kph in a 50 zone and in Broadford, Co Kildare someone was caught doing 104kph in an 80 zone

Derek Cloughley of the Garda Traffic Corps said GoSafe speed vans are set up at accident black spots. A formula based on a number of factors, including the number of injuries, deaths and collisions on a road, is used to decide their location. “It’s all maths,” he said. “When we see a reduction in incidents on a particular road we move them on.”