'Speed-addicted' drivers urged to slow down
IRISH people have a lethal addiction to speed despite the carnage on our roads, Gay Byrne has warned.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) chairman issued a plea to motorists to follow four simple steps and help make this Christmas the safest on record.
As of last night, 154 people have died on Irish roads this year, a nearly 10pc drop on the same period last year, which was the lowest on record.
But Mr Byrne said one death was one too many and he urged drivers to slow down.
Outlining the four steps motorists should take, he said: "Please wear your seat-belt, do not use your mobile phone when driving, don't even think about using drink or drugs if you are behind the wheel and, most important of all, please slow down.
"The great fallacy is that people think if they are travelling from Dublin to Cork and they drive very, very fast they will save 30 minutes or so. But they don't – they only save about five minutes.
"They're addicted. What are they going to do with those five minutes that were earned by putting their own life and the lives or other motorists at risk?"
Meanwhile, Operation Freeflow has been dropped in Dublin this Christmas as growing numbers of motorists are using the upgraded M50 to avoid going through the centre.
While traffic is still busy in the capital, it is far less so than in previous years. As a result, Galway is now the country's most jammed city.
A total of 103,000 motorists use the M50 each day, a 3pc increase on last year.
The number of drivers going into the city has fallen by more than 10,000 over the past six years, from 79,850 to 69,681.
The recession is being cited as one of the reasons for reduced traffic in Dublin, but experts say it is mainly thanks to the changes to the M50, including freeflow junctions and extra lanes, and the removal of the toll barriers on the Westlink bridge.
AA corporate affairs manager Conor Faughnan said traffic in Dublin was also eased by the construction of the Port Tunnel which had removed heavy lorries from the quays, and improved bus, rail and Luas services.
There had also been a significant increase in the numbers cycling into work in the city centre, he said.
"Motorists can now guarantee their journey times on the M50," he said. "Drivers living in places such as Stillorgan, Dundrum or Templeogue can easily get to Finglas, the airport or Blanchardstown on the motorway."
"This change has displaced a lot of the traffic that used to wind its way through the centre."
Mr Faughnan added that, while Dublin traffic flow has improved, congestion in Galway was the worst in the country. "Galway has a big problem," he said.