Gardai are askubg all road users to take care over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend. The appeal was made ahead of a major Garda operation focusing on road safety during the holiday.
The Easter road safety campaign will focus on driving while intoxicated, speeding, failure to wear seatbelts, distraction driving, dangerous or careless driving, and proper lighting of vehicles.
Marked and unmarked Garda patrols will also be on roads throughout the west this weekend, with mandatory intoxication testing checkpoints and speed enforcement measures in place.
Drivers are being reminded that in addition to mandatory breath testing, they can be breath tested if they commit any road traffic offence.
This weekend's campaign aims to reduce road traffic collisions, save lives, and reduce injuries. Gardai also wish to remind drivers of the dangers of speeding on the roads.
A Garda spokesperson pointed out this week that inappropriate speed, drink driving, failure to wear seatbelts, and faulty tyres are the greatest contributory factors to road deaths and serious injuries.
Drivers should pay attention to the speed limit signs on all roads, particularly in built up areas.
Garda enforcement activity will be conducted on sections of the road network known for speed related collisions, and will target all vehicles, including commercial vehicles of all classifications.
Drivers are also being urged to take all necessary steps to ensure that their vehicles are safe. In particular, ensure that cars have tyres fitted that comply with current regulations, are up to standard and roadworthy. Drivers are also reminded that tyre offences are subject to penalty points.
Over the past number of years, defective tyres were the most significant contributory factor identified in almost two thirds of fatal collisions.
Over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend drivers are urged to slow down and drive at appropriate speed — bearing in mind road condition, weather conditions, and traffic volumes.
Motorists should also allow plenty of time for a journey, take regular breaks on long journeys, and refrain from driving when tired. Everyone in a vehicle should be wearing a safety belt, and children should use an appropriate safety seat.
Cyclists and pedestrians
Gardaí are urging vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians to wear high viz clothing at night and throughout the day.
Pedestrians — like all road users — need to ensure they make prior arrangements to get home safely after a night out socialising. Research shows that alcohol could be a factor in almost a third of pedestrian deaths.
Cyclists should ensure they have the correct lights and that they are in working order. Cyclists are obliged to adhere to the Rules of the Road at all times. Motorists are asked to be conscious of cyclists and pedestrians using the roads.
Finally, people are reminded to never, ever, drink and drive, and never take a lift from a driver who has consumed drink or drugs.
Drivers should also be aware of the dangers of driving in the morning after a night of intoxication, as they can still be over the legal limit — about one in every 10 drink driving arrests is made between 8am and 2pm.
There is also a close link between alcohol consumption and the non-wearing of seatbelts in fatality statistics.
“Please make sensible choices when using the roads," a spokesperson for the Western Region Garda Traffic Division said this week. "Never, ever, drink and drive, slow down, wear a seatbelt, and don’t use a mobile phone while driving.
“Whatever type of road user you are, never take a risk on the road. It’s just not worth it.”