From 7am on Friday May 31 to 7am on Saturday June 1, 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. This brings to 75, the number of people killed in a road traffic collision to date. Based on collision data to date in 2013 over three quarters of fatalities have been a driver, passenger or motorcyclist. Similarly more than one third of fatalities have occurred on Thursdays and Fridays. Excessive or inappropriate speed is a significant contributory factor in road traffic collisions.
In Mayo, five people have lost their lives on the roads to date this year. Within the western region for the first five months of 2013, 381 people have been arrested on suspicion of driving while over the legal limit. 8,252 people have been detected exceeding the speed limit and 1,022 people detected driving while holding a mobile phone.
Garda Assistant Commissioner Gerard Phillips 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 five 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.”
There will be highly visible speed checkpoints on national primary and secondary roads, carried out by local members and the Garda Traffic Corps, and also by GoSafe vans.