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Garda war on speed catches 1,800 drivers

GARDA management are likely to stage another nationwide crackdown on speeding after new figures revealed a 60pc increase in motorists caught breaking the limit.

Operation Slowdown led to more than 1,800 speeding notices being issued over a two-day period in July, according to figures released by Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

This represents a 60pc daily increase on the number of drivers caught speeding.

The campaign targeted dangerous driving and attempted to get road users to stick to appropriate speed limits.

Now Garda management and Minister Shatter are understood to be keen on staging another two-day blitz.

Some 929 fixed charge notices were handed out to those caught speeding on Friday July 6 -- the day the operation was launched. And the following day, gardai recorded a small decrease with 873 notices being issued to drivers.

Some 570 notices were issued on an average day.

"The aims of the initiative were to raise general awareness of speeding and to encourage drivers to reduce speed at all times, not just for the 24-hour period of Operation Slowdown," Mr Shatter said in a statement.

"Public and private sector fleet operators were also asked to participate in the initiative by circulating employees with the key message to slow down and, whether driving for business or private purposes, to always drive within the speed and at a speed appropriate to the conditions.

"The operation consisted of high visibility speed enforcement activities on both national primary and secondary roads.

"These were carried out by local gardai, the Garda Traffic Corps, and also by the outsourced service provider GoSafe."

Labour TD Tommy Broughan said he is hopeful a similar blitz will take place in the future, but warned of the effects of garda cutbacks.

"We see a situation now where numbers in the force have fallen dramatically and I know for a fact that the Traffic Corps is suffering due to a lack of resources. This type of operation should be rolled out on a regular basis because it clearly produces excellent results.

"However it's clear that with the cutbacks being implemented, we won't see the type of visibility on our roads that we clearly need from the gardai."