Take care this weekend when using the roads, say local gardai

The stark reality is that to date this year, 156 people have been killed on Irish roads, thirty more than the same period last year. 166 people lost their lives on Irish roads in 2015. 23 persons have been killed on Western roads to date in 2016 and nine of those have been in Galway, four in Mayo, two in Clare and eight in Roscommon.

This October Bank Holiday period, An Garda Síochána is appealing to all road users to take extra care when using the roads. As this is the last Bank Holiday before the Christmas period, there will be an increase in traffic as many will be travelling to different parts of the country. The school holidays will also be commencing for all school children, so we appeal to all motorists/motorcyclists to slow down, always wear their seatbelts, wear the appropriate safety clothing at all times, be well rested and never ever drink and drive.

We are anxious to ensure anyone using a vehicle is aware of our Bank Holiday Enforcement Campaign. For the upcoming October Bank Holiday Weekend, Garda resources will be deployed with the aim of increasing compliance amongst road users and improving overall road safety.

Motorists are advised that inappropriate speed, drink driving, seatbelts, poor vehicle lighting and faulty tyres are the greatest contributory factors to road deaths and serious injuries at this time of the year.

Bank holiday weekends are typically high risk periods due to the high volumes of traffic on the National Road network. Over the October Bank holiday period, many people will set out to visit family and friends and in doing so, some will undertake long road journeys. Drivers are urged to be vigilant and to take all necessary steps to ensure their safety and the safety of other road users. Drivers should allow plenty of time for their journeys and not to drive if they are tired.

Drivers should pay attention to the speed limit signs posted on all roads but especially on entering built up areas. Garda enforcement activity will be conducted on sections of the road network that have a propensity for speed related collisions and will target all vehicles, including commercial vehicles of all classifications.

Drivers are urged to slow down and to remember that a speed limit is a legal maximum not a target and that it may not be appropriate when other conditions are taken into account. These include:-

• Road type

• Weather conditions,

• Traffic volumes etc.

Drivers need to drive at an appropriate speed for the conditions and traffic volumes, and take regular breaks. Ensure that everyone in the vehicle is wearing their safety belt and that all children are in a suitable safety seat. Never ever drive having consumed alcohol or drugs and never ever take a lift from a driver whom you know has consumed alcohol or drugs.

All road users are responsible for their own safety. One simple step is the wearing of a seatbelt. Remember that without a seatbelt, your chance of surviving a Road Traffic Collision is significantly reduced and you also put the lives of others at serious risk. If you crash, you will be thrown around the car, potentially causing serious injury to your family, loved ones or friends.

Don’t take a chance – Buckle Up.

Cyclists and Pedestrians are asked to wear appropriate clothing during hours of darkness; cyclists should ensure they have the correct lights and that they are in working order and at all times they are obliged to adhere to the Rules of the Road. Motorists are asked to be conscious of cyclists and pedestrians using the roads.

Pedestrians and cyclists should ensure that they are wearing High Viz. clothing while on the roads and to be conscious of their safety at all times.

An Garda Síochána are asking all road users to act responsibly and safely on the roads. Drink-driving destroys lives – at best, you could lose your licence but far worse, and far more difficult to live with, is the possibility of seriously injuring or killing someone on the roads.

Drivers are urged to take all necessary steps to ensure that their vehicles are safe and in particular, I would encourage drivers to ensure that their cars have tyres fitted that comply with current regulations, up to standard and roadworthy. Tyres should be checked to make sure they are not bald or damaged. Since the 17th April, 2016, tyre related offences are now subject to penalty points. While vehicle factors have played a role in fatal collisions in the period 2008 to 2013, defective tyres was the most significant factor identified in almost two thirds of collisions as contributing to the collisions.

Gardaí will be patrolling the roads network throughout Western Region over the Bank Holiday Weekend period in both marked and unmarked vehicles and would like to remind drivers that in addition to mandatory breath testing, they can breath-tested if they commit any road traffic offence.

In particular, I would remind drivers of the dangers of driving the morning after the night before. 12 per cent of all drink driving arrests occur between 8a.m. and 2p.m. and of those, almost a third happen on a Sunday, peaking between 11a.m. and 2p.m. So it is critical that drivers take measures to ensure their safety and the safety of others and this means leaving the car at home and taking a taxi or public transport the morning after if they need to get somewhere. It’s just not worth the chance if you are still over the legal limit.

The safest thing to do if you’re heading out for the night is to plan your journey home by organising a lift, a taxi or using public transport. I would also encourage people to look out for each other – if your friend or relative is under the influence of alcohol, make sure they get home safely.

Whatever type of road user you are, never take a risk on the road- it’s just not worth it.

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