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Garda crackdown targets speeding motorists

Operation will last 24 hours amid continued breaking of limits during Covid-19 lockdown

Gardaí will mount a 24-hour crackdown on speeding motorists. File photograph: The Irish Times

Gardaí will mount a 24-hour crackdown on speeding motorists from Friday as part of National Slow Down Day.

The operation, which is supported by the Road Safety Authority, will run from 7am Friday to 7am Saturday.

Figures from the Garda show that despite the Covid-19 travel restrictions and advice that workers should remain at home where possible, drivers are continuing to break the speed limits.

Among examples from across the State, gardaí recorded drivers travelling at 119km/h in a 60km/h zone on the Old Airport Road, Cloghran, Dublin; 138km/h in an 80km/h zone on the M50 at Kilmore Beg, Dublin 17; and 156km/h in a 100km/h zone on the N85 at Sileshaun, West Inagh, Clare

As of Wednesday there have been 56 road-related deaths, an increase of five deaths on May 20th last year.

Friday’s operation will entail high-visibility enforcement in 1,322 speed enforcement zones. Gardaí will also use media channels to remind people of the potential impact on families and communities of speeding.

According to the Garda, as a general rule a 1 per cent reduction in average speed will bring about a 4 per cent reduction in fatal collisions.

Chief supt Paul Cleary of the Garda Roads Policing Bureau said during the current Covid-19 restrictions there has been an increase in the number of vulnerable users on the roads.

He said “despite reduced volumes of traffic” the levels of speed have increased. “We have continued to see a small percentage of motorists who travel at excessively high speeds both in urban and rural areas,” Chief Supt Cleary said.

“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.”

John Caulfield, interim chief executive of the Road Safety Authority, said 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. Vulnerable road users will probably need to social distance too when sharing the road.”