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Your challenge: help save lives one by one - a day at a time

If we all take steps to act responsibly we will reduce numbers dying on the road


On target: Garda with a speed gun

On target: Garda with a speed gun

On target: Garda with a speed gun

The main target of the government's road safety strategy, which ends this year, is to save as many lives as possible.

The target is to reduce road deaths to 124 or fewer by the end of 2020.

While it may sound inappropriate to talk of targets around loss of life, I'm afraid when it comes to road safety there really is no other way we can measure success or failure.

There was an increase in road fatalities last year; 147 people died; up six on the same period in 2018. Reversing this increase and closing the gap to 124 or fewer will be a challenge, but not an impossible one.

To achieve the target, road deaths need to drop by 16pc this year. That means saving 23 or more lives.

How often have you heard the advice: 'How do you climb a mountain or run a marathon? By taking it one step at a time'. Well, we need to do the same if we want to save more lives this year.

By taking it one day, week or month at a time and making a conscious effort to stay safe on the road we can save more lives.

Look at it this way: An average of 12 people died each month in 2019. If we are to have any hope of saving lives and achieving the target, we need to reduce deaths to 10 or fewer a month.

Nine people died in road crashes in the month of January just gone, compared with 14 in the corresponding month last year.

If we all take practical steps to act responsibly by making safer decisions when using the road each day, each week and each month, we will reduce the numbers dying on the road.

In addition to individual road users doing their bit, State agencies need to do all they can to help achieve this goal too.

One practical initiative announced by An Garda Síochána recently is to designate February a 'Month of Action' to improve road safety.

Throughout February, gardaí will focus on the enforcement of road safety laws. It includes high-visibility interactive patrols and the use of improved technology.

This includes the use of next-generation hand-held speed detection equipment.

There are two new types of the latter being rolled out. This new technology will allow gardaí to increase the number of speed checks.

The new Garda mobility devices are also being deployed. These let gardaí check and identify disqualified drivers, as well as several other traffic infringements.

While the 'Month of Action' targets all offences, gardaí say they will focus enforcement on the key 'lifesaver' offences.

They include: using a mobile phone while driving; not wearing seat belts; speeding; driving while intoxicated; and dangerous driving.

Gardaí are also planning a series of multi-agency/bi-lateral operations throughout the month in conjunction with the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and other State agencies.

The RSA's roadside role in these is to enforce truck and bus drivers' hours regulations and the roadworthiness of their vehicles.

We will focus our road safety messaging on cycling safety too. This will include airing our TV advertising campaign advising drivers to give at least a one metre clearance when overtaking cyclists in 50kmh zones and 1.5 metres in zones above 50kmh.

Gardaí say they will ensure there are regular patrols in areas where cycle lanes are provided and where vehicles are obstructing these routes.

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