Driving at Christmas and in December can be risky.People are distracted and do funny things; the weather can change quickly and cause issues. Vigilance is needed like in summertime.
It is not just motorists that are in danger but also cyclists and walkers too. Where Hi Vis jackets and walk on footpaths.The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have called on all road users to act responsibly and safely when using the roads throughout the Christmas and New Year period. 3,518 road users suffered life-altering injuries between the years 2014 to 2017,* with vulnerable road users (motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists) representing half (50%) of all serious injuries as a result of road collisions.
Of those seriously injured, 64% were male. 36% were aged 18 to 34 and 41% were aged 35-64. The research revealed that a greater proportion of serious injuries amongst drivers and passengers happen on rural roads (speed limit >=80 km/h). While for vulnerable road users, the opposite pattern emerged, with 84% and 79% of serious injuries amongst pedestrians and cyclists respectively occurring on urban roads (speed limit <=60 km/h).Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr. Shane Ross TD said: “Today’s Christmas and New Year road safety appeal serves as a serious reminder to us all of the life-changing consequences of road traffic collisions particularly for vulnerable road users. It is for this reason that I recently introduced an amendment to the dangerous overtaking laws to target drivers who put the lives of cyclists at risk with dangerous overtaking. We have graduated penalties for drink driving so we believe we should have them for speeding as well.”
Survivors of a serious collision may be viewed as the ‘lucky ones’ but in reality, they are often dealing with life-changing injuries and personal trauma requiring many months and years of medical attention, rehabilitation and support. Not only are they learning to cope with their injuries, but their families, friends and loved ones are also coming to terms with these life changing injuries and how to support them every day.
It is evidence of why we must all work together, as individuals and agencies, in our road safety goals, and stay focused to ensure that fewer families are impacted by road collisions.
Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, An Garda Síochána said: “An Garda Síochána is committed to working to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on our roads. We would like to thank the majority of the public who have heeded the road safety messages throughout the year and have helped to improve safety on Irish roads. Unfortunately, there are still some people who are prepared to put their own and other people’s lives at risk. Intoxicant Testing checkpoints around the country are there to deter people from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of both. Of course, our members will continue to enforce all other road traffic legislation, including the more recent ‘dangerous overtaking of cyclists’ and ‘unaccompanied learner driver’ laws.”
This Christmas and New Year if you are planning to head out for a drink, plan how you are going to get home safely. Organise a taxi, hackney, minibus, public transport, designate a driver or arrange a lift. Remember you may not be safe to drive the morning after. Drink driving is drink driving no matter what time of the day or week it is.
To date in 2019, a total of one hundred and thirty-three people have died on our roads that is seven more than in 2018.