Garda Bank Holiday safety advice

Garda Bank Holiday safety advice

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Gardaí will be patrolling the road network throughout the Bank Holiday period, in both marked and unmarked vehicles – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2018

This August Bank Holiday period, An Garda Síochána is appealing to all road users to take extra care when using the roads.

There will be an increase in traffic as many will set out to visit family and friends, travelling to different parts of the country.

An Garda Síochána has issued an appeal to all motorists to slow down, always wear their seatbelts, be well rested, never ever drink and drive, act responsibly and make this Bank Holiday period a safe time for everyone.

Crime Prevention Officer for Clare, Sergeant Triona O’Rourke, said: “An Garda Síochána’s Road Safety campaign will focus primarily on:

  • Driving while Intoxicated
  • Speeding
  • Failure to wear Seat Belts
  • Distraction Driving i.e. use of Mobile Phones, iPods, driver fatigue, etc.
  • Dangerous / Careless Driving
  • Lighting of Vehicles

The objective of this campaign is to reduce Road Traffic Collisions, Save Lives, and reduce injuries and to remind drivers of the dangers of speeding on our roads.” Sgt O’Rourke added.

“Drivers should pay attention to the speed limit signs on all roads but especially on entering built up areas. Garda enforcement activity will be conducted on sections of the road network that have a propensity for speed related collisions and will target all vehicles, including commercial vehicles of all classifications.

Gardaí will be patrolling the road network throughout County Clare over the Bank Holiday period, in both marked and unmarked vehicles, which will target Driving while Intoxicated, Dangerous Driving, Distraction Driving and Speeding. Drivers are reminded that in addition to mandatory breath testing, they can be breath-tested if they commit any road traffic offence,” she said.

Drivers are urged to take all necessary steps to ensure that their vehicles are safe. Ensure that cars have tyres fitted that comply with current regulations, are up to standard and roadworthy.

Over the past number of years, defective tyres were the most significant contributory factor identified in almost two thirds of fatal collisions.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

Sgt O’Rourke added that over the Bank Holiday weekend Gardaí are urging drivers to:

  • Slow down and drive at appropriate speed – take into account road type/condition, weather conditions and traffic volumes.
  • Allow plenty of time for your journey – take regular breaks – do not drive if you are tired– pull over, take a 15/20 minute rest followed by a coffee and some fresh air.
  • Ensure everyone in your vehicle is wearing their safety belt.
  • Make sure all children are in a suitable safety seat.

Road users should expect the unexpected and watch out for motorcyclists in particular.  Motorcyclists are among our most vulnerable of road users because they have very little protection in the event of a crash. The risk to riders’ safety is set to increase over the summer, especially Saturdays and Sundays.

To reduce this vulnerability, bike riders should always wear the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment, and high visibility clothing, in order to make themselves visible to other road-users. Motorcyclists are also urged to drive with a dipped headlight on and “ease off the throttle”, while other road-users need to look, and look again, for motorcyclists in their blind spot.

In 2017, 70% (14) of the 20 motorcyclists killed on the roads died in the second half of the year. 5 motorbike riders alone were killed in the last week of July 2017. These figures serve as a stark reminder of the added dangers facing motorcyclists throughout the summer months and the need for all motorists, not just motorcyclists, to exercise caution.

Pedestrians need to understand that if they are out socialising they need to make arrangements to get home safely as research shows that alcohol could be a factor in almost a third of pedestrian deaths. In turn, cyclists should ensure they have the correct lights and that they are in working order and at all times they are obliged to adhere to the Rules of the Road. Motorists are asked to be conscious of cyclists and pedestrians using the roads.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016

An Garda Síochána has the following advice for people planning to socialise over the bank holiday weekend:

  • Plan ahead. Make sure you know how you’re getting home, whether by taxi, with a designated driver or public transport.
  • Never drive having consumed alcohol or drugs and never ever take a lift from a driver whom you know has consumed alcohol or drugs.  Any amount of alcohol impairs your driving – so leave the car at home, arrange alternative transport, or stick to the soft drinks.
  • Don’t walk home if you’re drunk. Almost a third of pedestrians killed on our roads have consumed alcohol.
  • Don’t forget that you could still be over the limit the next morning, so take the necessary precautions. It takes roughly one hour for your body to get rid of one unit of alcohol which is a half pint or a standard glass of wine, so if you got to bed late and didn’t get a good night’s sleep, the effect of the alcohol will be more significant.

In particular, drivers should be fully aware of the dangers of driving the morning after the night before.

Approximately 1 in 10 drink driving arrests occur between 8am and 2pm.  So it is critical that drivers take measures to ensure their safety and the safety of others and this means leaving the car at home and taking a taxi or public transport the morning after if they need to get somewhere. It’s just not worth the chance if you are still over the legal limit.

Passengers are reminded to wear seatbelts and to understand that there is a close link between alcohol consumption and the non-wearing of seatbelts in fatality statistics.

The message from An Garda Síochána for all road users over this Bank Holiday is:

  • Please make sensible choices when using the roads.
  • Never, ever drink and drive, Slow down, Wear a Seatbelt
  • Don’t use a Mobile Phone while Driving”
  • Park It, Lock It & Leave It”
  • Whatever type of road user you are, never take a risk on the road, it’s just not worth it.

 

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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