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Speeding blamed as pedestrian death toll doubles

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Warning: RSA’s Liz O’Donnell asked drivers to stick to the rules. Photo: PA

Warning: RSA’s Liz O’Donnell asked drivers to stick to the rules. Photo: PA

Warning: RSA’s Liz O’Donnell asked drivers to stick to the rules. Photo: PA

The number of pedestrians killed on Irish roads so far in 2020 has doubled since this time last year.

It comes as speed-camera vans have detected motorists driving at motorway speeds in built-up 50kmh zones.

According to the latest figures, 16 pedestrians died this year up to yesterday, April 29. In the same period last year, eight were killed.

Six pedestrians have died since the schools were closed in March.

Concerns have been raised by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and gardaí at the number of drivers speeding.

"Some drivers have been detected speeding through streets with 50kmh limits at what can only be described as motorway speeds," said a Garda statement.

A total of 54 people have died on the roads so far in 2020, seven more than the same period last year.

The RSA said this means there has not been a significant reduction in road deaths, which might have been expected given reduced traffic volumes since the coronavirus national lockdown.

Since schools were closed on March 13, and up to yesterday, there have been 17 road deaths. This compares to 18 fatalities over the same period last year.

Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary said he was concerned for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

"Despite the reduced amount of traffic on our roads at this time, we still have concerns for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, and we would appeal to motorists to reduce their speed," he said.

Since March 28, 8,226 motorists have been caught speeding, a 38pc drop compared to the same period last year.

"A driver was recently arrested after travelling at 202kmh on the M1 motorway. This is completely irresponsible and a danger to all road users," he said.

Liz O'Donnell, chairperson of the RSA, said: "Traffic may be at a reduced level but there are still cars and trucks using the roads, and everyone - motorists and walkers - must remember that those rules have not been suspended or changed."

Irish Independent