Gardaí set up new operation to enforce speed limits, seat belt wearing and phone use

‘Bad summer’ for road deaths as gardaí record highest monthly fatalities since 2012

Under Operation Teorainn gardaí will focus on  enforcing the laws on speed limits, seat belt wearing and mobile phone use by drivers. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Under Operation Teorainn gardaí will focus on enforcing the laws on speed limits, seat belt wearing and mobile phone use by drivers. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Gardaí have set up a new operation to target dangerous driver behaviours until the end of the year after a “bad summer for road safety”.

Twenty-four deaths were recorded in August, the highest number of monthly fatalities since June 2012, when there were 26.

According to figures compiled by the Garda, while the number of deaths overall this year at 112 is down about nine on the similar period last year, the numbers in August and in some categories, particularly driver-deaths, is a cause for concern.

There has been a 19 per cent increase in the number of drivers killed, at 58 this year, compared to the number of drivers killed up to the similar period in 2020, when driver deaths amounted to 48.

In 2021, some 78 per cent of fatalities have occurred on rural roads with a speed limit of 80km/h or above which will be a particular focus of Operation Teorainn.

Teorainn, which is Irish for “boundary”, aims to target driver behaviour for the remainder of 2021, including unaccompanied driving, and road transport offences.

Operation Teorainn will be mounted nationwide and focus on speeding, driving while intoxicated, non-seat belt wearing and the use of mobile phones, as well as unaccompanied driving by learner drivers, plus road transport offences.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) will support the plan with road safety awareness campaigns.

With just two and a half months remaining in 2021, the Garda and the RSA have called on road users, and particularly drivers, to make a greater effort to stay safe on the road.

Some 33 people were killed in the final three months of last year.

Chief Supt Michael Hennebry, Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, said roads are shared spaces “and we all have a duty of care, to ourselves and to others, to keep each and every road user safe. I am urging every road user to play their part by complying with the road traffic legislation and assist An Garda Síochána to make our roads safer places for all.”

He added every fatal or serious injury collision “has a devastating impact on the family, friends and communities of the people involved”.

Commenting on the joint road safety initiative, chief executive of the RSA Sam Waide said the media campaigns would be focused on “speeding, drink-driving, drug-driving and non-seat belt wearing”.

The RSA also plans to deploy two new radio advertising and digital media-led interventions in support of the Garda enforcement effort. The first will target learner and novice drivers.

The second campaign is targeted at male drivers who are very strongly represented among driver fatalities.