Gardai and the Road Safety Authority along with AA Roadwatch are stepping up their life-saving campaigns this weekend in a bid to halt the trend of deaths on the country’s roads during Bank Holiday breaks. In a concerted effort between the parties to ensure it is a weekend to remember for all the right reasons, pedestrians and cyclists using roads around Mayo are also to be issued with complimentary high-visibility vests by gardai who are to carry a supply in their vehicles.
Bank holiday weekends are notoriously dangerous periods for all road users as the number of people travelling on roads nationwide increases dramatically. A total of five people were killed and four seriously injured in traffic crashes over the October Bank Holiday weekend last year, while a total of 152 people have been killed in October Bank Holiday crashes between 2001 and 2008.
The RSA is directing its October Bank Holiday road safety message at young adults, and particularly passengers, as road collision figures indicate that those aged between 16 and 25 have accounted for almost three out of every five passenger deaths (59 per cent ) on our roads in 2010.
AA Roadwatch has also issued a number of alerts and warnings for drivers taking to the roads over the October Bank Holiday weekend, as well as for those heading abroad for the mid term break. Low lying sun at dusk and dawn along with freezing temperatures are expected to especially compromise drivers.
Commenting on the high number of recent incidents involving passengers aged 16 to 25, Castlebar native Noel Brett, chief executive of the Road Safety Authority, stated: “If out socialising over the weekend, have fun but please don’t become a headline in the news because you made bad choices. If you intend to take a lift from a friend, be sure you trust his or her driving. Ask yourself, is the car overcrowded? Has the driver been drinking or taking drugs? If you have any doubts, don’t be afraid to speak out and do not put your life in someone else’s hands.”
A total of 173 lives have been lost in road deaths so far in 2010 while more than 1,000 people have been seriously injured.
Traffic issues in Ballina
Traffic issues in Ballina also remain a concern this weekend with the newly introduced system designed to keep unnecessary vehicles out of the town centre, continuing to cause problems. At the town council meeting on Wednesday last up to 30 business people in the Ballina area attended to show their concern about the new road system, which is said to be causing less people to come into town in order to avoid traffic chaos.
“The officials have agreed to review the system in 10 days but I am calling for councillors also to be included in that meeting as everyone is anxious to know what is happening,” said Fine Gael councillor, Michell Mulherin.
“The fact is, in the absence of a ring road, we don’t have the capacity to fulfil the plan so each existing road should have to take its own burden because that is why the roads are there.”
Cllr Mulherin added that it was important the confusion did not take away from trading in the town and issued an appeal to shoppers to take note that “Ballina is very much open for business”.