Fifty people have died on Irish roads since January 2022 compared to 27 in the same period last year
Road users in Carlow and across Ireland are being urged to take extra care while driving during the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, following "an extremely worrying increase" in roads deaths since the start of the year.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána issued the joint appeal today (Wednesday April 13), and are asking motorists not to drive when impaired, distracted or tired.
The government's Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 aims to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on Irish roads by 50% over the next 10 years, however provisional figures from An Garda Síochána reveal road deaths in 2022 so far have almost doubled.
Fifty people have died on Irish roads since January 2022 compared to 27 in the same period last year.
Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, called the increase "deeply concerning".
She said, "We must all take action to reverse this trend by taking greater care when using the road – especially over the high-risk Easter Bank Holiday period. Four people died and eight were seriously injured over the Easter bank holiday last year. That means as drivers, we have a responsibility to slow down, to never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, never to use our phones or drive while tired, and always to ensure that everyone in our vehicle wears their seatbelt.
"For the government’s part, we are continuing to prioritise lifesaving legislation such as the current Road Traffic and Road Bill and to invest in infrastructure to enable safe active travel initiatives. The government is spending approximately €1million every day on infrastructure to support safe active travel."
Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority, Sam Waide, said, "We have had an appalling start to the year on our roads with 50 lives lost. An average of 15 people have been killed each month on the road to date this year. If we continue on this path, we could end up losing 180 lives this year. Ireland in Danger of having the highest number of road fatalities in a decade.
"If we all act now and improve our behaviour on the road, collectively we can avoid this preventable loss of life.”
Drug drivers are the primary target of the Easter Bank Holiday road campaign, with cannabis and cocaine remaining the most detected drugs in drivers on Irish roads.
He added: "There is a focus on drug driving over the Easter Bank Holiday. Driving under the influence of drugs can seriously affect a driver’s motor skills, and ability to control a motor vehicle on the road. If you are detected drug driving you will face a court appearance and if found guilty, a minimum driving disqualification of one year. Ask yourself is it worth the risk? Losing your licence and possibly your job."
Over three thousand arrests for drug-driving were made in 2021, with 768 made so far this year up to March 31.
Assistant Commissioner of Roads Policing and Community Engagement at An Garda Síochána, Paula Hilman, said, "Every road traffic fatality is a tragedy. We all need to examine our behaviour and ensure that we do not contribute to fatal and serious injury collisions.
"Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. It is expected that large numbers will be travelling on our roads this Easter period. Motorists should plan their journey and pay attention to other road users. We want everyone to stay safe and enjoy the holiday period. Remember that every decision you make on the road counts.”
According to Assistant Commissioner Hilman, mandatory intoxicant testing checkpoints will be undertaken throughout the country.
She said, "Don’t ever drive under the influence of an intoxicant. If you drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs you risk losing your licence. Our priority is to keep people safe, so I would ask you to please make responsible decisions this holiday period and don’t ever drive under the influence of an intoxicant."
As part of the campaign, free cups of coffee will be available for drivers on April 15 and April 18 at participating Applegreen stations to help combat driver fatigue.
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