Monday 20 November 2017

Boy racers targeted in road safety campaign

Treacy Hogan Environment Correspondent

BOY racers and known drink drivers are to be targeted in a 'whisteblower' campaign to put them off the road.

Local people who know of individuals driving dangerously will be urged to tip off the gardai -- and the driver's family.

The countrywide campaign, being spearheaded by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), comes after the earlier fall in road deaths was alarmingly reversed last month.

RSA chief executive Noel Brett revealed yesterday that there would be a three-step action plan, similar to the 'Tough Love' scheme rolled out in Donegal.

Firstly, where people become aware of speeding male drivers or drink drivers on the roads they will be urged to approach the drivers and ask them to desist.

If this fails to stop them from continuing to drive dangerously, they should then alert the drivers' families about their activities.

If this does not produce results, the next step should be to contact the local gardai.

There have been numerous complaints that gardai have failed to tackle the scourge of speeding young drivers during the hours of darkness.

The new initiative comes after the worst month for road deaths this year, and concerns that garda enforcement is not being sustained because of overtime budget cutbacks.

A total of 29 people died in October -- the highest number in four years -- reversing the earlier trend of falling fatalities.

And the RSA predicts that as many as 60 more lives will be lost before the end of the year, just eight weeks away.

Mr Brett said the overall death toll this year was made worse by the number of crashes involving multiple fatalities.

A total of 25 people died in just nine crashes, including the appalling loss of eight people in one Donegal collision.

"We are at the point of running a serious risk of complacency over road deaths and we need visible and sustained enforcement," Mr Brett told the Irish Independent yesterday.

"We estimate that as many as 55 to 60 more people are going to die on our roads by the end of the year. The tragic thing is that every one of them is preventable," he added.


"We are now going to encourage everyone in every town and village who is aware of a young person driving dangerously to talk to them, or talk to their parents.

"If they tell you to sod off, then talk to the gardai. We are appealing to people to be proactive."

Mr Brett added: "You cannot expect gardai to be on every street corner. We are not asking people to become vigilantes, but we want them to alert people to dangerous driving and, in the process, to save lives."

Donegal has featured heavily of late in the litany of road deaths. Data supplied by the RSA shows that Donegal has the fifth-highest rate of fatal collisions in the State.

Irish Independent

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