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Motorists urged to slow down ahead of Bank Holiday weekend

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have appealed to drivers, ahead of the June Bank Holiday weekend to reduce their speed by taking part in a national ‘Slow Down” day , which will take place for a 24 hour period, from 7am on Friday 30th – 7am Saturday 31st  May 2014.

The call comes as figures show that the June Bank Holiday has consistently been the most dangerous weekend over the past two years. Five people lost their lives and five were seriously injured over the June Bank Holiday in 2013. Six lost their lives and 11 were seriously injured in 2012.
Commenting ahead of the June Bank Holiday Weekend the Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport, Mr. Leo Varadkar T.D., urged road users to support national “Slow Down” day:-

“Five people lost their lives over the June Bank Holiday weekend last year. We should all work together to ensure we do not have a repeat of such carnage this year. The only way to avoid a repeat this year is if we all work together. Speed is still one of the biggest risk factors. By slowing down we reduce the likelihood of a crash, and the severity of injuries. We are also asking drivers this weekend to watch out for dangerous road conditions because the weather is so changeable. We want everyone to enjoy the weekend, but please do so safely.”

Speaking at the launch of the joint campaign, Ms. Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said: “We really want the public to take extra care when using the roads this weekend. The June Bank Holiday has been particularly bad over the last two years. But we are also heading into this weekend on the back of a really bad May Bank Holiday when we lost 5 lives on the roads. Of great concern too is the fact that, nationally, we seem to be heading in the same direction as last year. 71 lives have been lost compared to 73 to the same date last year, and last year was our worst in seven years.”

“It really is so important to realise that staying safe on the roads is a continuous effort. We simply cannot afford to let our guard down. The roads are going to be very busy this weekend, there are local festivals, sporting events and people travelling the length and breadth of the country for a break. The roads will be busy with people out walking and cycling. There are more tourists using the roads and they there will be a big increase in the number of agricultural vehicles out and about as farmers begin the first cut of silage this weekend.  So I would appeal to everyone to do what you can to stay safe this weekend. In particular I would appeal to drivers to slow down, and support national ‘Slow Down” day by reducing your speed. Small margins can have a big difference. If a pedestrian or cyclist is hit at 60km/h they stand little chance of survival. If hit at 50km/h they have a 50/50 chance of living.”

Assistant Commissioner John Twomey, Garda National Traffic Bureau, speaking at the launch in Garda HQ today said:- “Excessive or inappropriate speed remains a significant contributory factor in road traffic collisions. Unfortunately, many drivers believe they are immune to the laws of physics as over 80,000 fixed charged notices have already been issued for speeding so far this year, an increase of over 20% compared to 2013 figures. Of greater concern, 9 out of 10 detections were made in situations where the driver was travelling 10km/h or more above the posted speed limit. 1 in 10 of those drivers detected were for speeds in excess of 30 km/h above the limit. This is particularly worryingly for pedestrians and cyclists in 50km/h zones, which were the worst locations for speeding offences.”

Assistant Commissioner Twomey continued:- “Since we started the national “Slow Down” initiative 2 years ago, we have seen the public get behind and support it, so the message is getting through to most. We are making great use of our social media sites to advertise the “Slow Down” day also, so people can be aware of it and support it online.”

Assistant Commissioner Twomey concluded:- “Help us all make this June Bank Holiday a particularly safe one. Ask your family, friends and colleagues to heed the advice given today to slow down. To support the initiative, and for those that refuse to heed all the safety messages and put the lives of other road users at risk, all members of An Garda Síochána will be specifically targeting motorists exceeding the speed limit over this June Bank Holiday period.”

In a further practical effort to promote road safety ahead of the June Bank Holiday Weekend the RSA, An Garda Síochána and Applegreen are planning an initiative aimed at tired drivers. On national “Slow Down” day Friday 30th May, Applegreen will provide free cups of coffee to drivers between 2pm and 8pm at 17 participating service stations around the country.

Drivers simply mention the ‘RSA’ to the till operator and they will receive a free cup of coffee on Friday to ensure they get to their destination safely.