Saturday 17 March 2018

Belt up and slow down on roads

Garda warning of crackdown over bank holiday weekend

Paul Melia, Treacy Hogan and John Fallon

MOTORISTS were yesterday warned to slow down over the bank holiday weekend, which is traditionally one of the busiest for travel all year.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) yesterday revealed that 28 people have died and 50 were seriously injured in bank holiday crashes since 2005.

It said that one in five rear-seat passengers still refuse to wear a seat belt.

"Seat belts are proven lifesavers," RSA chief executive Noel Brett said. "Without one, three out of four people will be killed or seriously injured in a 50kmh head-on crash.

"Belting up is also the law and drivers have a specific responsibility to ensure passengers occupying either front or rear seats, who are aged under 17, use a seat belt or appropriate child restraint."

His comments came after gardai warned of a massive enforcement operation over the weekend that will focus on speeding.

Earlier this week, senior officers revealed that parents were placing their children at risk by not making them wear seat belts.

Bank holiday drivers in Co Mayo will be given a stark reminder about how their lives can be wiped out in a flash as road safety officers bid to reduce the carnage on the roads.

Dubbed the "flash before your eyes" campaign, a series of five billboards have been erected along Charlestown bypass on the N5.

"Billboards will be placed close enough to each other so that when a car is travelling past them at 100kmh the effect will result in a flash of images, with the final billboards spaced further apart to reveal the road safety message," Noel Gibbons from Mayo County Council said.

Gardai are warning the public of scheduled events planned this weekend that may cause traffic delays.

They include the National Hurling Finals in Semple Stadium, Thurles on Sunday, and the Great Limerick Run, also on Sunday.

Further traffic warnings are to be posted on from this afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Irish Water Safety agency warned the May bank holiday posed an increased risk of tragedies because more people would be out swimming.

"Children are fascinated and attracted to water. It is critical that adults supervise children at all times around water, particularly children visiting farms where slurry tanks and open water is often unprotected," chief executive John Leech said.


"On average, 13 drownings occur in Ireland every month. This tragic figure will decrease if the public is responsible, aware and educated on the risks," he added.

He said thousands of marine leisure enthusiasts would take to the water this weekend but warned that complacency had been a factor in many bank holiday drownings. People had to take steps to avoid becoming a drowning statistic, he said.

Alcohol is a contributory factor in almost 30pc of drownings, and Mr Leech urged the public not to drink near water. He also called on anglers and sailors to check their life-jackets or buoyancy aids to make sure they worked properly.

Irish Independent

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