Gardaí have announced a month of action focusing on Road Safety which will take place between February 1 and February 29 of this year.
2019 saw a 4% increase in Road Traffic Fatalities with 148 deaths on the road, up 7 on the same period in 2018 and the trend for 2020 is continuing in the same vein. Serious injury collisions are up 1% at 1136 and An Garda Síochána is committed to reversing the upward trend in Road Traffic Fatalities/Serious Collisions incidents for 2020.
The month of Action will focus on a number of areas to improve road safety:
- Enforcement of road traffic legislation to promote compliance
- High visibility interactive patrols to deny criminals use of the road network
- Improved Technology
While the Month of Action will target all road traffic offences particular emphasis has been placed on the enforcement of key “lifesaver” offences:
- The use of mobile phones while driving;
- The non wearing of seat belts – front and rear;
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI);
- Dangerous Driving
The focus on these key offences will be supported by the greater use of new technology, the engagement of all personnel and the targeted deployment of Units during specific operations, to deny criminals the use of the road network and deliver an enhanced safety programme.
Additional Speed checks will be conducted across the country which will coincide with the rollout of two new types of speed detection devices. The TruCAMII (50 Units) and the TruSpeed SXB (120 units). Training in the new speed detection equipment is ongoing and will be completed by all roads policing member during the month of February. This new technology will provide members of An Garda Síochána with the latest speed detection technology available, which will increase the number of speed checks and make the roads safer.
Superintendent Eddie Golden “I welcome the provision of the new speed detection equipment and remind all drivers that the speed limits around the country are the maximum permissible limit not necessarily the safest due to changing road weather and traffic conditions. The new equipment enhances our ability to conduct speed enforcement checks over a 24 hour period.”
Collision prone Zones
Intercept detections for speeding offences in 2019 showed an increase of 17% when compared with the number of detections made in 2018, this contributed in no small part to an increase of 8% in total speed detections for the year when GoSafe detections are factored in. Following a review for the collision prone zones new zones will commence on the 11th of February 2020 (media briefing re this initiative is scheduled for the 10th of February 2020)
The RSA found that in 867 fatal road traffic collisions, excessive speed was identified as a contributory factor in 274 (32%) of collisions - 19% cited excessive speed as the sole factor.
The new locations of all zones utilised by GoSafe will be available on the Garda and other websites on the 10th February 2020.
Mobile Phone Enforcement Operations
Driver distraction creates a real risk to drivers and vulnerable road users yet it is clearly visible to all of us that a significant proportion of drivers still use their mobile phone while driving. A survey conducted by the RSA has also found that those using a mobile phone while driving were more likely to be non-compliant in other areas such as speeding, drink driving, insurance, motor tax etc.
During the month of action Gardaí will be proactive in issuing FCPN’s notices for these offences. Members of the public are reminded that this offence carries 3 penalty points and a €60 fine.
Detections for Seatbelt offences in 2019 showed an increase of 3% when compared with the number of detections made in 2018.
The most recent RSA observational study of seat belt wearing rates indicates that while compliance is 94% for drivers and front seat passengers, only 89% of rear seat passengers were observed wearing a seat belt. Analysis conducted by the RSA also identified that of the rear passengers not wearing a seat belt involved in a fatal collision 45% were killed.
“I am appealing for all drivers to ensure that all passengers are wearing a seatbelt particularly those in the rear and especially children. Many of these tragic fatalities could be avoided if drivers followed this simple rule by ensured that before they move off everyone is secured correctly”, Superintendent Eddie Golden.
Driving While Intoxicated Operations
Driving While Intoxicated enforcement will focus on the detection of both alcohol and drug driving offences. Driving While Intoxicated detections for 2019 showed an increase of 5% when compared with the number of detections for 2018. For the period from the 1st of January to the 30th January 2020 there were 741 arrests for Driving Under the Influence. Of these 489 were over the legal limit. 170 of these arrests were for Drug- Driving offences. ( with results pending on other cases) Over the same period in 2019 there were 600 arrests for driving while intoxicated.
The RSA found that in 867 fatal collisions examined, 38% involved a driver, motorcyclist, cyclist or pedestrian who had consumed alcohol.
In 2019 statistic show that 1 in 10 drivers were detected for incidents of Driving While Intoxicated the morning after the night before. DWI Operations and Checkpoints will be conducted to remind motorists of the dangers of the Morning after.
Gardaí remind drivers to never drink/drug drive.
Combined THOR/MIT Checkpoints
In order to enhance our goal of denying criminals the use of the road network THOR Checkpoints within each Division will take place daily. These checkpoints will be conducted by the Roads Policing Unit, The Detective Unit and the Armed Support Units.
Multi Agency Checkpoints
Multi-Agency/Bi-Lateral Operations will be conducted by An Garda Síochána with the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and other external agencies during the month.
TISPOL Operation Truck and Bus
Divisional Roads Policing Units will be conducted operations in respect of Trucks and Buses during the month . PSV Inspectors along with Road Policing Units will be participating in these checks.
“I am asking all drivers of HGV, Large/Small PSV vehicles and fleet managers to ensure that their vehicles are checked on a daily basis and are road worthy”, Superintendent Eddie Golden.
Cyclist are vulnerable road users and every effort must be made to ensure that where cycle lanes have been made available, that they are accessible to the cyclist. Each Divisional Roads Policing Unit and Community Policing Unit will ensure that regular patrols are conducted in areas where cycle lanes are provided and where vehicles are obstructing these lanes appropriate action will be taken. Garda Members are aware of the new offence of ‘Dangerous overtaking of a Pedal Cycle’ and where such incidents are reported they will be fully investigated. The Road Safety Authority will be running radio advertisement throughout the month highlighting this issue.
Superintendent Golden, “I would also appeal to pedal cyclists to be aware of the Fixed charge notices which apply to them on the public road. These offences all carry a €40 FCPN
- Cyclist driving a pedal cycle without reasonable consideration.
- No front lamp or rear lamp lit during lighting-up hours on a pedal cycle.
- Cyclist proceeding into a pedestrianised street or area.
- Cyclist proceeding past traffic lights when the red lamp is illuminated
- Cyclist proceeding past cycle traffic lights when red lamp is lit.
- Cyclist failing to stop for a School Warden sign.
- Cyclist proceeding beyond a stop line, barrier or half barrier at a railway level crossing, swing bridge or lifting bridge, when the red lamps are flashing.
Cyclists have a responsibility to stay within the rules of the road for the safety of all”
Enforcement of other offences
Whilst there is a focus on the key “lifesaver” offences, An Garda Síochána will continue to enforcement other road traffic offences.
In enforcing these offences and in interactions with motorists generally opportunities are provided to check such things as –
- Driving licence status and identification of disqualified drivers;
- Compliance with the requirements for permit holders to be accompanied by a qualified driver and display of “L” plates;
- The requirements for novice drivers to display “N” plates;
- Motor insurance status;
- Motor tax;
- NCT / CRW;
- Vehicle lights and markings;
- Format of vehicle registration plates;
- Roadworthiness including tyre condition;
- Overweight vehicles;
- Load securing;
- Commercial vehicle licensing compliance;
- Bus lanes
Roads Policing members will be utilising their new mobility devices to check and identify Disqualified drivers.