Gardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) are urging all road users to take special care over the upcoming St Brigid’s Bank Holiday weekend following the deaths of 20 people on Irish roads so far this year.
Noting that the new bank holiday will see an increase in traffic volumes as is normally the case over long weekends, gardaí will be focusing on speeding, driving under the influence of drink and/or drugs, the non-wearing of seatbelts and the use of mobile phones.
“An Garda Síochána appeal to all road users, including drivers, pedestrians, pedal cyclists, to also use the roads responsibly, particularly on rural roads, where the majority of fatal collisions are taking place. In particular, road users are asked to be seen,” gardaí said in a statement this evening.
"Drivers are urged to drive with dipped headlights during the day, especially if they do not have daytime running lights. Pedestrians are advised to wear high visibility (clothes) at night on roads without public lighting and footpaths. Cyclists should wear safety helmets and ensure they have a white light to the front and red light to the back so they are visible to pedestrians and drivers.”
Assistant Commissioner, Paula Hilman, Roads Policing, An Garda Síochána, said: "In this first St Brigid’s Bank Holiday weekend I am appealing to all roads users to look out for one another on the road.
"Bank holiday weekends are a very busy time on the roads and our experience is that the risk of fatal and serious injury collisions increases during these periods. This year to date there have been 20 fatalities on the roads. We are asking everyone to work together in keeping our roads safe.”
“Similar to other bank holidays this weekend we will be focusing on the four lifesaver offences; driving under the influence, speeding, non-wearing of seatbelts and mobile phone use. An Garda Síochána will engage with the public and work with our partners to keep people safe on our roads, this bank holiday weekend.”
Sam Waide, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority, said: “One of the main road safety themes for the RSA and An Garda Siochana in 2023 is safer speeds. Inappropriate and excessive speed is the largest contributory factor to fatal and serious injury collisions in Ireland.
"So, this new bank holiday weekend I am appealing to drivers to slow down. A 5pc reduction in average speed could result in a 30pc reduction in fatal collisions.”
Meanwhile, Minister of State at the Department of Transport Jack Chambers said bank holidays are “high risk periods on the road” and urged all road user to “take greater care over the St Brigid’s weekend.”
He also reminded drivers that fines for 16 road traffic offences have doubled since October.
"So don’t ruin your weekend by having to pay for something that is completely preventable. Please slow down, wear your seatbelt, stay off the phone and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Meanwhile gardai released grim statistics revealing there more than 50,500 road traffic collisions recorded last year, including 150 fatal road collisions, and 1,238 collisions that resulted in serious injuries on top of 4,526 collisions that resulted in minor injuries. Another 44,853 collisions resulted in material damage.
Gardaí also revealed that 8,038 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence, including 5,331 arrests for drink driving and 2,707 for drug driving last year.
In January alone this year, 660 drivers were detected for driving under the influence, including 415 for drink driving and 245 for drug driving.
There were also 165,513 drivers fined for speeding, 5,910 fined for seat belt offences and 18,524 drivers fined for mobile phone offences in 2022.