From 7am on Friday 31st May to 7am on Saturday 1st June, An Garda Síochána, along with other stakeholders, will run Operation “Slow Down”. The objectives of the Operation are to raise awareness of the dangers of inappropriate and excessive speed, reduce the number of speed related collisions, and therefore save lives and reduce injuries on our roads.
For the past seven years, there has been a year on year decrease in the number of road fatalities in Ireland. However, as we move into the second half of 2013, there have been 11 more fatalities on our roads than at this time last year. 73 people have now been killed in a road traffic collision to date.
Based on collision data to date in 2013 over three quarters (78%) of fatalities have been a driver, passenger or motorcyclist. Similarly over 37% of fatalities have occurred on Thursdays and Fridays. Excessive or inappropriate speed is a significant contributory factor in road traffic collisions.
Garda Assistant Commissioner Gerard Phillips, in co-operation with other stakeholders nationwide including the Road Safety Authority, National Roads Authority, National Transport Authority, Health and Safety Authority and local authorities, is appealing to members of the public to:-
Slow down and save lives
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar said: “Last year’s June bank holiday weekend saw six lives lost and a further 12 people seriously injured. There is always a risk associated with driving at the weekend, but bank holiday weekends are riskier still. The roads are busier, and communities will be staging festivals across the country. Many people will be cycling or walking, and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable. I appeal to all road users to take extra care this June bank holiday.”
Assistant Commissioner Phillips, speaking today in Dublin Castle stressed;
“Wherever you see a speed limit sign, please remember it is the maximum that you may travel at on that road, but only when conditions are perfect. When you are faced with adverse weather, road or traffic conditions, the most effective way to keep safe is to slow down and give yourself more time to adapt to all that is happening around you. That speed limit is not a target that must be achieved. We are appealing to all vehicle drivers and riders to keep within the speed limits, and when necessary, slow down. The time lost by reducing your speed by 5 or 10 km/h on a long journey is insignificant, but the increase in road safety terms to you and all around you is very significant.”
Assistant Commissioner Phillips continued:-
“We particularly wish to thank all the companies, organisations and departments that are supporting An Garda Síochána and the RSA with this important safety initiative. The massive level of support is indicative of the desire and necessity to always keep Road Safety to the forefront of all our minds. Last year’s Slow Down day proved that the public can easily change their driver behaviour to make our roads safer, so we appeal again to all drivers and riders to support us, not just for one day but every day after that too. 26 people were tragically killed in the month of June 2012, the highest of any month since October 2010, we do not want that repeated ever again. Slowing down saves lives, it’s as simple as that”
Mr. Noel Brett, CEO, Road Safety Authority said, “Inappropriate or excessive speed continues to be the number one killer behaviour on our roads. It plays the biggest role in causing collisions and increases the severity and the outcome of a crash.”
Mr. Brett added that “according to independent research conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of the RSA in 2012, just over half of drivers say it is unacceptable to break the speed limit. This is very welcome. However, one in every ten drivers said it’s ok to break the speed limit by 10km/h or more, although the number of people in this group is dropping year on year. Of concern is the one third of drivers who believe it is acceptable to break the speed limit by up to 10km/h. These drivers need to understand that breaking the speed limit by such margins can have devastating consequences. For example if a pedestrian is hit at 50km/h the chance of survival is fifty fifty, the toss of a coin. If the same pedestrian is hit at 60km/h nine out of ten will die. We need to realise that a car driven at any speed has the potential to become a lethal weapon, that’s the laws of physics.”