Festive road safety drive launched
Road safety chiefs have vowed to crack down on irresponsible drivers this Christmas.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan warned that authorities would ramp up efforts to target drink, drug and risky driving, speeding and people not wearing seatbelts.
"Over the festive period, we will be dedicating our resources to stamping out irresponsible, risky behaviour on our roads," Mr Callinan said.
"But I would like to remind everyone that this is not about catching people, it's about protecting each and every person who uses the roads so that we can all have a safe and happy Christmas and new year."
A total of 154 people have been killed in road crashes so far this year, compared with 174 deaths to the same date in 2011.
The initiative will also focus on serious injuries caused in collisions.
The An Garda Siochana and Road Safety Authority Christmas and new year road safety campaign was launched in collaboration with the national spinal injuries unit in the Mater Hospital.
Keith Synnott, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the hospital, said data from the last two years showed a drop in spinal injuries.
But he said while staff at the hospital work hard to help patients survive the injuries and lead them through rehabilitation, prevention is always better than cure.
"Spinal cord injuries have a devastating and truly life-changing impact on people who suffer them and their families," Mr Synnott said.