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RSA and AGS launch St Patrick’s Bank Holiday road safety appeal with high number of road deaths in 2024

  • One in ten report driving after drinking alcohol in the last 12 months.
  • One in four motorists believe that driving short distances after having a drink is acceptable.
  • Nearly one in four drivers have admitted they may have been over the limit when driving the morning after a night out.
  • Over St. Patricks Weekend 2023, 196 drivers were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of an intoxicant – 136 alcohol & 60 drugs.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are appealing to the public to use the roads with care over the St Patrick’s Bank Holiday weekend. This appeal comes against the backdrop of high numbers of road fatalities in 2024.

Provisional analysis from the RSA shows that 42 lives have been lost on Irish roads to date this year, three (3) more than on this date last year (as of 14 March 2024).

The RSA and An Garda Síochána are reminding all road users to never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Ahead of the national holiday, drivers and all other road users are being reminded to plan ahead and organise a safe way home when celebrating over the coming days.

This means leaving the car and the keys at home, arranging a lift, agreeing a designated driver, booking a taxi, or taking public transport. Walking home or cycling under the influence of alcohol or drugs can also put you and other road users at risk.

Gardai statistics show that:

  • During 2023 one driver was arrested every hour on suspicion of driving under the influence of an intoxicant – alcohol or drugs.
  • Over St. Patricks Weekend 2023, 196 drivers were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of an intoxicant – 136 alcohol and 60 drugs.
  • Drug driving accounted for over 35% of all driving while intoxicated detections in 2023.
  • Cannabis and cocaine remain the main drugs identified.
  • To date in 2024 up to the 29 February, over 1,300 drivers have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of an intoxicant – alcohol or drugs.

The appeal comes as the RSA’s Driver Attitudes & Behaviour Survey 2023 found that one in four (26%) motorists believe that driving short distances after having a drink is acceptable, and one in ten report driving after drinking alcohol in the last 12 months.

The survey also reveals that nearly a quarter (23%) of drivers have admitted there were times where they may have been over the limit when driving on the morning after a night out.

To coincide with this Bank Holiday appeal, the RSA’s ‘SAY IT’ campaign will continue to run over the Bank Holiday weekend, with a specific focus on alcohol. The ‘SAY IT’ campaign encourages people to speak up when they see unsafe behaviours by family or friends on the roads.

Mr. Jack Chambers, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, said“I am deeply concerned by the findings that people have admitted to driving while they may have been over the limit after a night out. This bank holiday weekend I am urging motorists to make responsible choices before getting behind the wheel after celebrating St Patrick’s Day. With the holiday falling on a Sunday, people who are away for the weekend may be travelling back on the Monday. We all need to keep our roads safe, and I am also appealing to people not to get behind the wheel if they have been celebrating heavily the night before.”

Sarah O’Connor, Director of Partnerships and External Affairs with the RSA, said: “We know that fatal road traffic collisions are more likely to occur over the weekend and late at night/in the early hours of the morning. If any of us gets behind the wheel of a car after drinking alcohol or using drugs this weekend, we have to realise that our decision could lead to some very serious consequences. Plan a safe way home and stick to it – and speak up if you see someone about to drive or walk home when intoxicated. Don’t just think it, say it.”

An Garda Síochána Assistant Commissioner Roads Policing and Community Engagement, Paula Hilman said“Throughout this St. Patrick’s Bank Holiday Weekend, an extensive Garda Roads Policing Operation will be in place nationwide. Enforcing road traffic laws is a core element of road safety, and Gardaí work all year round to detect road traffic offences which are known to increase the risk of death or serious injury on our roads. The reality is that this risk further increases during bank holiday weekends. We all have a personal responsibility to prevent road fatalities and serious injury road traffic collisions, and we must work together. An Garda Síochána are urging people to never, ever get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of an intoxicant be that alcohol or drugs. Please slow down and drive at an appropriate speed, always wear your seatbelt and do not allow yourself to be distracted by a phone while driving.

“There are consequences to these actions and poor driver behaviour – some more lasting than others. You could lose your licence and face significant financial penalty, but far worse is the possibility of seriously injuring or killing someone else on the road. We appeal to everyone to look out for one another on the roads this St. Patrick’s weekend.”

This St Patrick’s Bank Holiday Weekend drivers are also being reminded that the RSA and participating Applegreen service stations are providing free cups of coffee to motorists to combat driver fatigue. The offer is available from 2-8pm on Friday 15 March and on Monday 18 March – just mention RSA at the Applegreen till when you’re getting your coffee.

The RSA has also teamed up with JOE.ie to help combat drink driving this St. Patrick’s weekend. The JOE.ie team has produced a video where they put the public to the test with some ‘simple’ tasks using our impairment goggles, which shows the effects of driving under the influence.

ENDS 

For further information please contact:

Road Safety Authority Press Office, 096 25008

Met Éireann Cold Weather Advisory and Status Yellow Low Temperature warnings issued for Ireland

A Met Éireann Status Yellow Low Temperature / Ice Warning has been issued for Ireland and is in place until 10am tomorrow (9th January), while a Cold Weather Advisory is currently in place and will remain in effect until 10.30pm on Friday, January 12th.

The possible impacts of these conditions include black ice and frost on the roads and dense fog at times leading to hazardous / dangerous travelling conditions.

Gabriel Hynes, Senior Engineer with Waterford City and County Council has urged the public to exercise caution.

“There have been incidences of black ice and frost reported on roads in Waterford County.  Waterford City and County Council ground crews have attended to the Priority One and Two road network, and gritting will be undertaken as required on these Priority One and Two roads for the duration of the cold weather advisory warning.  The crews are also attending to salting Priority Three roads as and when resources allow.

“We would advise all motorists to exercise caution on their journeys, reduce speed and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front, as there is the risk of black ice and frost on the roads.

“Please allow extra time for any journey and be conscious of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.”

Waterford City and County Council’s severe weather management team is monitoring the situation and a map of winter maintenance routes can be found at:

https://www.waterfordcouncil.ie/departments/roads-parking/severe-weather.htm

Members of the public can contact Waterford City and County Council’s Customer Services Desks on 0818 10 20 20 during normal office hours, after which calls will be transferred to the Council’s emergency services number.

Please note the following emergency contact numbers below:
Emergency 999/112
Uisce Éireann 1800 278 278
ESB Networks 1800 372 999
Gas Networks Ireland 1800 205 050

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Who was Mary Ward? Vision Zero

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is calling on people to come and find out who was Mary Ward by visiting the RSA at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co Laois from September 19th-21st.

The RSA’s stand at Europe’s leading agricultural trade exhibition will educate attendees on road safety messages.

The RSA last week launched the “Who was Mary Ward? Vision Zero” campaign which calls on the public to work together so we see our last road death in Ireland.

The RSA, alongside government partners and road safety advocates, is asking all road users for their support in achieving this vision by changing their behaviour, to make Irish roads safer for all.  Vision Zero is a worldwide commitment that aims for no road deaths or serious injuries on Irish roads by 2050.

The campaign centres around the story of Mary Ward (1827 – 1869) who was the first person in the world to be killed in an automobile incident. Her life was tragically cut short when she fell under the wheels of the motor vehicle she was travelling in, at Birr, Co. Offaly in 1869.

The intervention comes at a time when there has been a worrying increase in road deaths with fatalities in the first six months of 2023 hitting a six-year high. There has been an increase in the number of deaths taking place on rural roads, which have accounted for 70% of fatalities this year.

RSA staff will also be on hand to offer advice on the correct use of agricultural equipment or machinery and answer any queries on vehicle safety standards such as towing capacity, braking rules, lighting laws and vehicle maintenance requirements.

Drivers of agricultural vehicles are being reminded that they are subject to all road traffic legislation. They are required to carry the appropriate licence and farm vehicles are required to be taxed, insured and roadworthy, including fully operational lights front and rear. The RSA is calling road users to be aware of an increased presence of agricultural vehicles on the roads; allow extra space and only overtake when it is safe to do so.

Mr Sam Waide, CEO of the RSA, said: “The Ploughing Championships is a major highlight in the RSA’s calendar. I invite people to join us at our stand where we’ll be actively engaging with attendees to promote responsible driving habits and ensure everyone’s safety on the roads around the country. Our road safety experts will be on hand offering tips on safe driving practices, providing information on the latest regulations, and addressing any questions or concerns you may have. Together, we can make a significant impact in reducing road deaths and saving lives. So, when you visit our stand, take a moment to engage with our team, gather valuable insights, and join us in our mission to create safer roads for everyone.”

The RSA information stand will include information on:

  • Who is Mary Ward – Vision Zero Campaign
  • Vehicle Standards
  • Vehicle Testing and Enforcement
  • Driver Testing and Licensing
  • Road Safety Education – come speak to us about road safety in your school

The RSA will be located at block 4, row 22, stand number 351 at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co Laois from September 19th-21st.

ENDS

For media queries or for interviews, please contact:

RSA Communications Office: 096 25008

Or

drury@rsa.ie  

RSA’s Interactive Road Safety Shuttle visits Waterford this week

 

                              

        In conjunction with a Local Community Safety Partnership initiative, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has announced that its Interactive Road Safety Shuttle will travel to Waterford this coming week. This mobile interactive unit, designed to educate and engage the public on road safety, will be stationed at various locations in Waterford from 26th-28th July 2023.

What is the Shuttle?
The RSA Interactive Road Safety Shuttle is a cutting-edge initiative that aims to provide the general public and other target audiences with an immersive experience, raising awareness about critical road safety issues. Equipped with the latest simulations and immersive VR technologies, the Shuttle focuses on addressing killer behaviours on our roads such as speeding, driver distraction, fatigue, driving under the influence, and other important road safety concerns.

Visitors will have the opportunity to test their driving skills and reaction times on car simulators, as well as experience real-life situations, such as avoiding distractions in busy traffic or staying awake during late-night drives. Cyclists can also participate and improve their knowledge of road rules using the surround screen simulator, while a similar motorcycle simulator offers valuable insights into a biker’s perspective on the road.

Local Community Safety Partnership Coordinator, Eddie Mulligan emphasized the learning aspects of the Shuttle, stating :

“The RSA Interactive Road Safety Shuttle presents a unique opportunity for our community to actively engage in road safety education. We’re very glad to see people in Waterford getting this opportunity. By participating in the interactive simulations, we can all gain valuable insights into the dangers of bad behaviour on the roads. Our message is that road safety is a shared responsibility, and together we can make a difference in reducing accidents and saving lives.”

During the shuttle’s Waterford visit, the Road Safety Educators, a team of qualified teachers, will be present, leading the sessions and introducing participants to the VR experiences. They will be available throughout the session to discuss all aspects of road safety and address any queries attendees may have.

Waterford Local Community Safety Partnership Chair, Seán Aylward, further commented on the opportunity afforded by the visit of the RSA Interactive Road Safety Shuttle’s in Waterford, saying:

“With the concerning rise in road traffic accidents, the need for proactive safety initiatives is critical. These events present an great opportunity for our community to actively engage in road safety education and witness firsthand the potential dangers on our roads. The need for such initiatives is underscored by provisional fatality statistics for 2022, indicating a concerning rise in accidents. As of 1st June 2023, the RSA Research Department highlights the urgency for road safety awareness and action. I urge everyone to attend and be part of the collective effort to foster road safety awareness in Waterford.”

Shuttle Event Details

  • Wednesday, 26th July 2023 – Dungarvan Davit’s Quay Car Park (Across Civic Offices)
  • Thursday, 27th July 2023 – Waterford City, Bolton Street Car Park
  • Friday, 28th July 2023 – Tramore Promenade Car Park
  • Times: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Bank Holiday Appeal to Motorists to ‘Pass Wide and Slow’

Joint June Bank Holiday Appeal to Motorists to ‘Pass Wide and Slow’ When Meeting Horse Riders and other Vulnerable Road Users

The Road Safety Authority (RSA), and An Garda Síochána (AGS) have teamed up with Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) and Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) to produce a series of videos to inform motorists how to share the roads safely with horse riders.

Road users are being urged to be cautious and to ‘pass wide and slow’ when encountering horse riders, as well as other vulnerable road users. Road users should watch and share the new series of videos to familiarise themselves with best practice when they encounter horses on the road.  Road users should also remain alert when approaching places where horses are likely to appear, including riding schools and racing yards.

A survey1 of over 1,700 horse riders found that cars and jeeps have been involved in the highest percentage of reported incidents with horses on the roads.  The remaining share of reported incidents were equally divided among those who cycle, vans, lorries and agricultural machinery.

It also found that four in five (85%) horse riders had experienced a road safety incident when on the road with their horse at some point, with 12% of those incidents resulting in injury to either the horse or rider. These findings have led RSA, HSI, HRI and An Garda Siochana to create the series of videos to inform motorists and those who cycle what to do when they encounter horses on the road.

Motorists and those who cycle are reminded that if they meet a horse and rider on the public road they should always:

  • Slow down
  • Pass wide
  • Obey the hand signals of the rider

Motorists should never:

  • use the horn
  • rev the engine
  • flash the lights

The RSA and AGS are also reminding drivers that the summer holiday season is one of the busiest periods for all road users, and drivers should slow down and remain vigilant when travelling over this summer period. Sadly, there have been 20 fatalities and 94 serious injuries on the roads over the June Bank Holiday Period since 2018.

Mr Sam Waide, CEO Road Safety Authority said: “Road users should be alert when travelling but especially over the summer months as there are more vulnerable road users such as horse riders using the roads. If you encounter a horse, please use best practices such as passing wide and slow, obeying the rider’s hand signals and avoid using the horn, air brakes or lights as they may startle or blind a horse.”

Minister of State at the Department of Transport and at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, Jack Chambers said: “We are approaching the summer, which is typically a very busy time of the year on our roads and as such a high-risk period. We must remember to stay safe on the road during these months. All road users have a duty of care to share the road in a safe and socially responsible way. I hope that all road users will find this new series of videos useful as they demonstrate best practices guidelines when sharing the roads specifically with horse riders. These videos provide real clarity on what we should all do when we meet a horse rider on the public road.

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement, An Garda Síochána said: “The June Bank Holiday period is one of the busiest periods on our roads and when road users are at the highest risk of being involved in fatal collisions. In 2022, there were 8 fatalities and 18 serious injuries during this period and I am appealing to all road users to slow down and exercise caution so as to avoid this devastating impact to families and communities across the country. Motorists should be particularly mindful of vulnerable road users.

An Garda Síochána will be focusing on the enforcement of the key lifesaver offences of speeding, non-wearing of seatbelts, using a mobile phone while driving and intoxicated driving, which research has shown are significant contributory factors to road traffic collisions. This means that motorists should slow down, wear their seat belt, avoid distractions and never drive while under the influence of drink or drugs.”

Suzanne Eade, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland said: “There is a shared responsibility for road safety from all road users so we are delighted to partner with the Road Safety Authority with their horse road safety appeal. The videos have lots of useful guidelines to explain to motorists how to share the roads safely with horses and their riders. I would encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the guidelines, especially as the busy summer period approaches. We all have a part to play in sharing the road safely.”

Denis Duggan, CEO of Horse Sport Ireland said: “We are delighted that this series of videos is now available and will help raise awareness of what to do when road users meet horse riders on the road. Horses are live animals and can be unpredictable, so it is important that all road users familiarise themselves with the rules of the road.

He added, “These videos will assist in explaining those rules in a very easy to understand way. I would encourage everyone to take a few minutes to watch the videos and I want to take this opportunity to compliment the creative team and those in the Road Safety Authority for this initiative, which Horse Sport Ireland has been happy to support.”

To view the new video series please see here

The RSA guidelines for ‘Horse Road Safety on Public Roads’ are available here.

This June Bank Holiday Weekend drivers are being reminded that the RSA and participating Applegreen service stations are providing free cups of coffee to motorists to combat driver fatigue. The offer is available from 2pm to 8pm on Friday 2nd and on Monday 5th June.

To date in 2023 there have been 77 fatalities on the road. This is an increase of 13 deaths compared to the same date last year.

ENDS

Road users urged to take greater care on roads over the May Bank Holiday Weekend

An Garda Síochána and RSA urge road users to take greater care on roads over the May Bank Holiday Weekend as deaths increase by 8% in 2023 

  • 4 people killed and 27 seriously injured* over May Bank Holiday 2022.
  • Gardai to focus on Life Saver Offences over bank holiday including, speeding, impaired driving, non-seatbelt wearing and distracted driving.
  • 154 people arrested for driving under the influence over the 2022 May Bank Holiday Weekend, 13% of these arrests made between the hours of 6am to 2pm

Thursday 27 April 2023:  An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) are urging all road users to take care this May Bank Holiday Weekend as provisional road collision figures show that here has been an 8% increase in road deaths to date in 2023.

The appeal comes as RSA collision data shows that the May Bank Holiday is a high risk period for collisions with a total of 7 people killed and 83 people seriously injured over the weekend in the last 5 years. Last year’s bank holiday was a tragic weekend for road safety with four fatalities and 27 people seriously injured.

Enforcement statistics released by An Garda Síochána for last year’s May Bank Holiday show that they detected.

  • 2,820 speeding incidents,
  • 154 motorists driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, 13% of these were recorded between the hours of 6am and 2pm across the weekend.
  • 91 drivers not wearing a seatbelt, and
  • 212 drivers using a mobile phone.

An Garda Síochána will have an increased presence on the roads across the country, over the high-risk bank holiday, targeting the four lifesaver offences and dangerous driving activity.

Chief Superintendent Jane Humphries, Garda National Roads Policing Bureau said, As the May Bank Holiday weekend approaches, we urge you to prioritise safety on the roads. The Gardaí will have a high visibility presence this weekend and a focus on the four lifesaver offences; speeding, mobile phone use while driving, seatbelt compliance and intoxicated driving. It’s up to each and every one of us to do our part to keep ourselves and others safe.

“We focus on these offences as research tells us that they are the biggest causes of fatal and serious injuries on the road. You can do your part this weekend by driving within the speed limit and according to the road and traffic conditions, putting on your seatbelt and ensuring all passengers do likewise before commencing your journey.

“When behind the wheel, ignore your phone it’s not worth the distraction and finally never, ever drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs and remember that you may still be over the limit the following morning. By following these simple guidelines, we can all do our part to prevent accidents and keep our roads safe.

“Let’s make this May Bank Holiday weekend a safe and enjoyable one for all.”

Ms. Sarah O’Connor, Director of Partnership and External Affairs, Road Safety Authority said, “I want to appeal to all road users to slow down and take extra care. The roads will be a much busier with people travelling on short breaks – many will be travelling to and from sporting and local events too, so the advice is to slow down and expect the unexpected on your journey. I would also specifically appeal to drivers to watch out for people cycling, walking, horse riding and riding motorbikes. By doing so, we can ensure that the weekend remains free of trauma for families. This is not an impossible thing to achieve as there were no fatalities over the recent St. Patrick’s bank holiday weekend – together we can do this again this weekend.

To help drivers stay alert behind the wheel over the Bank Holiday Weekend, the RSA and Applegreen will provide free cups of coffee to drivers between 2pm and 8pm on Friday 28th April and Monday 1st May at participating service stations. Simply say ‘RSA’ or ‘Driver Reviver’ to the till operator to avail of a free coffee. A list of participating stations is available at www.applegreenstores.com/ie/locations

To date in 2023, a total of 56 people have died on Irish roads, an increase of 4 compared to the same date in 2022.

ENDS

RSA and An Garda Síochána issue road safety appeal ahead of Easter Bank Holiday

  • 11 fatalities and 67 serious injuries in Easter Bank holiday collisions over last 5 years
  • 45 road deaths in 2023, up 1 death on the same period in 2022*
  • All road users are urged to take extra care over the Easter Bank Holiday

6 April 2023: The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are issuing a road safety appeal to all road users ahead of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

It comes as collision statistics show that 78 people have been killed or seriously injured over the Easter Bank Holiday period in the last five years. Last year alone, 2 people were killed and 18 seriously injured. Bank Holidays bring a higher volume of traffic onto the road across the country, and with this comes an increased risk of collisions.

Table 1. Road User Fatalities and Serious Injuries for Easter Bank Holiday period 2016-2022*

Fatal Collisions

Fatalities

Serious Injuries

2018

1

2

16

2019*

1

1

17

2020*

2

2

8

2021*

3

4

8

2022*

2

2

18

Total

9

11

67

*Note, data for 2019-2022 is provisional and subject to change

All road users are being encouraged to use the roads responsibly.

Drivers are urged to slow down, wear seatbelts, and not to drive while impaired through alcohol, drugs, or fatigue. They are also being reminded to watch out for vulnerable road users including cyclists, pedestrians, horse riders and motorcyclists, particularly on rural roads where most fatal collisions take place.

Pedestrians are reminded to use the footpath and, if there is none, to walk on the right-hand side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.

Many motorcyclists will be returning to the road after parking their motorbikes up for the winter. They are urged to ensure their motorcycle is roadworthy before taking it back on the road. The are also advised to take great care if getting back on the road as they may be rusty from not having ridden their motorcycle in a while.

To date in 2023, a total of 45 have been killed in fatal road crashes, this is an increase of 1 death compared to the same period in 2022*.

Analysis of collisions to date show that :

  • 49%* of fatalities to date this year are 35 years old or younger. Fatalities in this age group represented 32%** of all fatalities in 2022.
  • 55%* of fatal collisions to date in 2023 have been single vehicle collisions.

Additional advice for road users to make this a safer Bank Holiday Weekend:

  • If you are planning a long trip over the Easter Bank Holiday, remember that traffic will probably be heavy so you plan to give yourself additional time to allow you to get your destination safely. Plan some breaks along the way to stop you from getting tired.
  • If you feel tired while driving: Stop, Sip, Sleep. That’s stop somewhere safe, have a caffeinated drink and nap for 15 minutes. Whatever you do, please don’t fight sleep at the wheel.
  • This Easter Bank Holiday Weekend drivers are being reminded that the RSA and participating Applegreen service stations are providing free cups of coffee to drivers to help combat driver fatigue. The offer is available from 2pm to 8pm on Friday 7 April and on Monday 10 April.
  • Drivers planning to head out socialising over the Easter Bank Holiday are urged to plan how they are going to get home safely. Book a taxi, or hackney, use public transport or designate a driver. The same also applies if we are planning to walk, particularly in rural areas where there may be no footpaths or street lighting.
  • Remember: if you have been drinking, you may not be safe to drive the morning after. Don’t risk it! Use public transport, a taxi or arrange a life with a friend or colleague. If you cannot, then delay your journey until it’s safe to drive. It takes approximately one hour to get rid of one unit of alcohol from your body. A unit of alcohol is half a pint, a glass of wine and a standard measure of spirits.

ENDS

Tommy Bowe urges drivers to kick drink driving to touch this St. Patrick’s Weekend

Former Irish International rugby legend and TV presenter Tommy Bowe is calling on motorists, but particularly younger drivers, to kick drink driving to touch this St. Patrick’s Weekend and to never, ever drink and drive.

To drive home the message that drinking and driving simply do not mix, Tommy teamed up with secondary students from St. David’s C.B.S, Artane and members of the Kilmore West Youth Project, Artane to show through fun and educational demonstrations the dangers of drinking and driving.

This included Tommy and students donning ‘beer goggles’, which imitate the impairment effects of alcohol, and negotiating an obstacle course in pedal ‘go-karts’. This and other demonstrations, which will be promoted across the Road Safety Authority’s (RSA) and An Garda Síochána’s social media platforms, will be a fun and educational way to show how basic tasks are not so simple to do, while under the influence of alcohol.

Speaking about his involvement in promoting road safety ahead of the St. Patrick’s weekend, Tommy Bowe, said, “I am delighted to team up with the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána to promote road safety over the St. Patrick’s weekend. Today I was able to experience first-hand, in a safe and controlled space, the impairment effects of alcohol on driving. It was very sobering. Any amount of alcohol can impair driving so it’s just not worth the risk. If you are planning to drink over the St. Patrick’s weekend, leave the keys at home and plan how you are going to get home safely. Designate a driver, hire a minibus if heading out with a group of friends, use a taxi, hackney, or public transport if available. Remember to do the right thing the next morning too, as you may still have alcohol in your body, making you unsafe to drive.”

Sam Waide, CEO of the Road Safety Authority, said: “There is a particular need for younger people to make good choices when using the roads this weekend, including avoiding driving while impaired, through drink or drugs or a combination of both. Figures for 2023 to date indicate that 50% of fatalities are 35 years of age or younger. For the whole of last year, this age group accounted for 32% of fatalities.”

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement said, “There were 72 drivers arrested for drink driving and 33 arrested for drug driving over the St. Patrick’s weekend in 2022. The consequences of choosing to drink and drive are stark. You could cause a collision, you could cause a fatality and you could cause your own disqualification as a driver. All drink driving offences carry a period of disqualification.

Think what this could mean for you for your job and lifestyle. Think about what it could mean to carry the burden of causing another person to lose their life.”

Key drink driving statistics:

  • In the last 5 years, 11 people have been killed and 55 people have been seriously injured on our roads over the St. Patrick’s Bank holiday period.
  • 37% of driver fatalities (2015-2019) with a toxicology result available had a positive toxicology for alcohol*.
  • Research published by the RSA in 2022 showed that 1 in 4 motorists (26%) admitted ‘there were times when they may have been over the limit when driving the morning after a night out’.
  • Figures released by An Garda Síochána show that Year-to-date in 2023: 937 Drink-Driving and 584 Drug-Driving arrests have been made.
  • Total detections for intoxicated driving over four day period 17-21 March 2022 – 72 drink driving arrests and 33 drug driving arrests.
  • Morning after detections for intoxicated driving (drink/drug driving) over the St. Patrick’s Day period in 2022 – 34 arrests from 6.00 a.m. to 12 noon.

ENDS

RSA and local authorities remind landowners to cut hedgerows to prevent road safety hazards

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the County and City Management Association (CCMA) are calling on land-owners to cut their hedgerows before the March 1 deadline, to ensure they are not causing a potentially serious road safety hazard.

Overgrown hedgerows and roadside verges can result in road fatalities and serious injury collisions. Properly maintained hedges also protect vulnerable road users who are not forced onto the road by overgrown hedges. It additionally affords motorists a clear view of what is in front of them or around the a bend, especially on local rural roads in the case of sightlines at junctions or obstructions to road signs.

In accordance with the Wildlife Act, it is an offence to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated or growing in any hedge or ditch, between 1st March and 31st August. There are some exceptions to this including if there are grounds to act for road safety reasons. Local authorities can and do either take direct action themselves or serve a notice on the landowner to do something in such instances.

Mr. Sam Waide, Chief Executive, RSA, said: “Landowners across the country need to be aware of the impact that overgrown hedgerows can have on other road users. They can cause a road safety hazard that could potentially result in loss of life or serious injury to another member of your community.  Road safety is a shared responsibility, and it is important that landowners remain alert and take accountability for maintaining hedgerows. We can make our roads a safer place if we all play our role and take personal responsibility for what happens on the roads.”

On behalf of local authorities, John McLaughlin, Chair of the County and City Management Association Climate Action, Transport, Circular Economy, and Networks Committee said: “Local authorities have an obligation to ensure roadside verges are maintained and that local road safety issues should be prioritised, whilst also recognising the commitments under directives to preserve hedgerows and promote biodiversity. Equally, landowners and anyone living along the roadside has a responsibility to check that hedges or trees on their property are not causing a road safety hazard. If they are, the landowners should take the necessary steps needed to ensure road safety. We are also calling on members of the public to report road safety issues caused by overgrowth to their local authority, which can then contact the landowner.”

Road Safety Alert for Ice, Hailstones, Freezing fog and Snow

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is advising all road users to prepare for hazardous conditions on roads and footpaths this week as Met Eireann has issued an advisory for cold weather that will bring sharp to severe frosts and icy stretches on roads and footpaths. This will include showers of hail, sleet and snow with the potential for freezing fog.

Road users should expect icy roads and be extra cautious on untreated road surfaces. Hazardous travelling conditions are expected, especially on untreated roads and footpaths.

Road users should also watch out for black ice. If the road looks polished or glossy it could be, “black ice” one of winter’s worst hazards: Black Ice is difficult to see. It is nearly transparent ice that often looks like a harmless puddle or is overlooked entirely. The sheltered / shaded areas on roads, under trees and adjacent to high walls are prone to black ice.

The advice for drivers to deal with icy road conditions is.

  • Clear your windows and mirrors of any ice, carry a screen scraper and de-icer.
  • Remember it takes longer to stop in icy conditions. Manoeuvre gently, slow down and increase your braking distance or ‘safe space’ by leaving an extra distance between you and the vehicle in front.
  • Avoid too much steering, harsh braking, and acceleration.
  • Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Select a low gear when travelling downhill especially if through bends.
  • Check tyres and replace them if the tread depth falls below 3mm. Check they’re inflated to the correct tyre pressure.
  • Familiarise yourself with any safety assist technology like Electronic Stability Control (ESC) or Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) in your vehicle.
  • Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space when overtaking them.

Met Eireann is also warning of a risk of hailstone showers, especially in the west and northern parts of the country. The difficulty with hail showers is their unpredictability and localised nature.  As a hail shower tracks across the country it deposits a narrow band of ball bearing sized hailstones on the ground.

The RSA has the following advice for drivers who encounter hailstones:

  • If you encounter hailstones reduce your speed, without braking if possible. Warn other drivers by using your hazard warning lights.
  • Driving slowly in a high gear will help your tyres maintain grip even as your tyres move over the compacted pellets of ice.
  • Accelerate and brake very gently and drive slowly on bends where loss of control is more likely. Avoid sudden steering movements or hard braking.
  • Keep an eye out for road markings that may become obscured and leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front.

There is also a risk of sleet and snow across the country. Drivers in these conditions are advised to:

  • Remove all snow from your vehicle before commencing your journey. Snow left on the roof will become loose and can drop onto the windscreen during braking, thereby causing sudden and severe restriction to your vision. It can also fall off during your drive and cause injury to pedestrians or a reflex action by another driver.
  • In snow and icy conditions, slow down. Use all controls delicately and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front.
  • In snow or sleet conditions, visibility will be reduced. Do not drive on the taillights of the vehicle in front. In heavy snow, use your fog lights, turn off your radio and open your window, so you can hear other traffic, especially at junctions.

The changing weather conditions will also pose some challenges for pedestrians and cyclists. The advice for these road users in icy conditions is as follows.

  • While walking on footpaths and in public places, or entering and exiting your car or truck, DO NOT underestimate the dangers of frost and ice.
  • Each winter slips and fall accidents cause serious injuries. Even when surfaces do not look especially icy or slippery, it is very possible that a thin sheet of transparent ice or “Black Ice” is covering your pathway putting you at risk.
  • Many slips and falls happen in places people regard as safe and secure, typically outside their front door on the doorstep, on the path or while getting out of the car.
  • If you are out walking in icy conditions wear appropriate footwear.
  • Visibility is reduced in hail, sleet, or snow so at night wear high visibility clothing or carry a torch and if you cycle make sure your bike is fitted with lights front and rear.

For advice on severe weather driving tips and weather updates, please see severe weather advice on or check out the RSA Facebook and Twitter pages.

See advice on driving in our series of Severe Weather Warning videos created in collaboration with Teresa Mannion.

For more weather updates visit Met Eireann’s website here

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Minister Naughton announces Round Two of the Safe Routes to School Programme

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton TD, alongside the National Transport Authority and Santa Claus, today announced that 108 schools will be included in the Safe Routes to School Programme.

The Safe Routes to School Programme aims to create safer walking and cycling routes within communities, alleviate congestion at the school gates and increase the number of students who walk or cycle to school by providing improvements to walking and cycling facilities. The launch of the second round of the programme today will see over 37,000 students across Ireland benefit from safer infrastructure and encourage them to cycle, walk and wheel to school.

Speaking from her home county of Galway at the launch of round two of the Safe Routes to School Programme, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton TD said: “I am delighted to be able to bring some festive cheer to schools nationwide by confirming that thousands of more children nationwide will soon benefit from safer infrastructure which will allow them to walk, cycle and scoot to school every day.

“In recent months I have had the privilege of visiting schools across the country and have seen first-hand the positive impact that Safe Routes to School projects are having on our children’s daily lives. During these visits the message was loud and clear that there is a huge appetite for the continued rollout of the Safe Routes to School Programme in our villages, towns, and cities across the country. Now, having secured the necessary funding as part of Budget 2023, it is great to see the programme continue to go from strength to strength. My ambition is that every child in Ireland will have the option to make their daily commute to the classroom by foot, bicycle or scooter in a way that they are safe and protected; one that I am confident is shared amongst children, their parents, teachers and the wider school community.”

Concluding, Minister Naughton said “I want to thank all of the children that are joining us here today in Scoil Fursa, Galway City, for their help in sharing the good news with other boys and girls across the country. Special thanks also to Santa Clause for taking time out of his busy schedule to be here with us this this morning. ”

CEO of the National Transport Authority, Anne Graham said: “The National Transport Authority is responsible for ensuring the successful delivery of Safe Routes to School projects right across the country. Our Active Travel team is already working closely with local authorities on the rollout of the Round 1 schemes, and it has been encouraging to see more young people cycling, walking/scooting to school as a result.

“In collaboration with An Taisce Green-Schools and the local authorities, we will now begin working on delivering the second tranche of projects. By working with school communities at a local level to make journeys safer than ever before, we can continue encouraging young people to use more sustainable modes of transport.”

The programme is funded by the Department of Transport through the National Transport Authority (NTA) and is supported by the Department of Education. An Taisce’s Green-Schools is co-ordinating the programme, while funding will be made available to local authorities which will play a key part in delivering the infrastructure. €20m has been allocated for projects included in Round 2 with the funds coming from each local authority’s annual allocation for Active Travel works.

In recent weeks, a number of schools that took part in Round 1 have started seeing their projects come to fruition including Limerick’s first School Street at An Mhodhscoil on O’Connell Ave in the city centre, and a new School Zone at Bunscoil Rinn an Chablaigh in Cobh, County Cork, creating a safer and calmer area to support children walking, cycling or scooting.

The list of schools receiving support under the Safe Routes to School Programme Round 2 can be found here.

New roadside drug testing system launched at Christmas and New Year road safety appeal

  • New drug driving testing system (Securetec® Drugwipe 6s) more portable, quicker and tests for more drugs
  • Gardaí launch six week Christmas road safety enforcement campaign
  • 86 fatalities and 765* serious injuries in Christmas / New Year period over last five years/ last year
  • 146 road deaths in 2022 – 146 empty seats at the table on Christmas Day, up 27 on last year

road-safety-authority-logo

 A new preliminary roadside drug driving testing device, which can test for a greater range of drugs at the roadside was launched today at the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Gardai Síochána Christmas and New Year road safety appeal. The launch took place in University College Cork.

The new Securetec® Drugwipe 6s roadside drug testing device, which has been introduced by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) and rolled out to Gardaí across the country, works like an antigen test. It is more portable, faster at delivering results and can not only test for Cannabis, Cocaine, Benzodiazepines and Opiates, this device can, unlike its predecessor, test for Amphetamine and Methamphetamine.

The new preliminary drug testing device will be operational from today Thursday 1 December by An Garda Síochána, who have announced an intensive six-week road safety enforcement campaign across the country to Christmas and New Year.

For An Garda Síochána, one primary goal will be to reduce the number of people driving while under the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs, but they will be also targeting other road traffic offences such as mobile phone use, speeding and non-wearing of seatbelts.

Research by the RSA and An Garda Síochána revealed that over the last five years there were 86* fatalities and 765* serious injuries over the Christmas and New Year period.

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton said: “I welcome the introduction of this new drug testing device which is a key action to be delivered under Ireland’s Road Safety Strategy (Action 163) by the end of 2022. We know that the majority of drivers don’t drive under the influence of drugs but there are still some who persist in this dangerous behaviour. As we come into the festive season, remember that drugs and alcohol and driving do not mix under any circumstance. I’d like to remind drivers that all drink or drug driving penalties carry a disqualification period.”

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman said “I am pleased to be here today to launch An Garda Síochána’s Christmas and New Year’s road safety campaign which will run from today until 3rd January 2023. This information-led campaign will focus on locations and times where fatal and serious injury collisions have occurred over the last 12 years.

One of our primary goals is to reduce the number of people driving while under the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs. Today also marks the introduction of a new piece of equipment which will increase our capability to test drivers for the presence of illegal drugs. The DrugWipe 6S is now in use by Gardaí and the streamlined testing process will assist us in our goals of bringing offenders before the courts and making our roads a safer place.

The Assistant Commissioner added that “this year has seen 146 fatalities on our roads which is 146 empty seats at the table on Christmas Day. We all agree that number is far too high and we must work together to keep each other safe. In December 2021, 19 people died in road collisions, our thoughts and prayers are with their friends and family.

Professor Denis Cusack, Director of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS), said: “Combinations of drugs and of drugs and alcohol can have a very serious effect on a person’s safe driving ability which may result in serious injuries or death. We need to address this combined alcohol-and-drugs-driving danger whilst also ensuring drivers continue taking prescribed medications for safe and healthy driving. This enhanced roadside drug testing system, which is to be used from today by An Garda Síóchána is extremely timely as we see a continued increase in drug detection in drivers. In 2016, the MBRS tested 1,113 samples for drugs other than alcohol. By 2021, that figure has increased to 4,321 – a near four-fold increase. While alcohol still remains the most frequently detected intoxicant in driving in Ireland, cannabis is the second most frequently found intoxicant and its detection in drivers is continuing to increase, with cocaine being the third most commonly found intoxicant drug detected.”

Professor Cusack added, “This newly introduced drug testing system (not unlike the Covid antigen test method) can test for Cannabis, Cocaine, Benzodiazepines, Opiates, and in addition Amphetamine and Methamphetamine, at the roadside. The advantages of the new system are that oral fluid collection is very rapid, the test time is reduced to 2-8 minutes, and the device is easily transported with no other device being required to read the drug results. This enhanced roadside drug testing system to be used by the Gardaí is timely as drug use in Irish society continues to increase and diversify which also translates into more dangerous intoxicated driving.”

Mr. Sam Waide, CEO, Road Safety Authority said: “I am urging all road users to act responsibly and to not drink or drug drive when using the roads throughout the Christmas and New Year period. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs doesn’t happen by accident, it happens by choice – those choices could have catastrophic consequences. I would appeal to all road users not to take risks on the road and to make safer choices however you use the road. Slow down, don’t drink or drug drive, wear your seatbelt and watch out for cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and horse riders this festive season.”

Mr. Waide added, “if you are planning to head out socialising, remember to plan how you are going to get home in advance. Designate a driver or organise a taxi, hackney, minibus, or public transport. Be aware too of the danger of drink driving the morning after.”

Drivers are being reminded that the Coca Cola Designated driver campaign is running again this year. The scheme offers free soft drinks and water to anyone acting as a designated driver on a night out with friends or family.

146 people have died on the roads to date in 2022 – this represents an increase of 27 on the same day last year. Separately, 1,174 people were seriously injured on our roads this year up to 27 November 2022.

Fines for 16 road safety offences to double from October 27

Minister Naughton Announces fines for 16 road safety offences to double from October 27

Fine for speeding to double to €160. Fines for non-wearing of seatbelts and mobile phone use to double to €120

  • Fines for Learner drivers found driving unaccompanied to double to €180. Fines for non-display of ‘L’ and ‘N’ plates to double to €120
  • Three new Fixed Charge Offences will be introduced in new year
  • Tackling speeding the theme of Road Safety Authority Annual Conference

26 October 2022: Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Ms. Hildegarde Naughton announced that the fines relating to 16 road safety offences will double on 27 October, 2022. Minister Naughton made the announcement at the Road Safety Authority’s Annual Conference in Croke Park today. The theme of the conference is Tackling Speeding – Risk Factors and Interventions.

From the 27 October some of the fines that are doubling include speeding (from €80 to €160), mobile phone use (€60 to €120), non-wearing of seatbelts (€60 to €120), and failing to ensure that a child is properly restrained (€60 to €120).

Certain fines relating to safety offences committed by learner and novice drivers, are also increasing. The fine for a learner permit holder driving a vehicle unaccompanied by a qualified person will increase from €80 to €160. The fine for novice and learner drivers not displaying ‘L’ or ‘N’ plates, or tabards in the case of motorcyclists, will double to €120.

Minister Naughton also announced that three new Fixed Charge Notices will come into force in the new year. These relate to the misuse of a disabled parking permit. Illegally parking in an electric charging bay and breaching a HGV ban and entering a specified public road without a valid permit.*

Around 250 delegates will hear from a range of national and international experts on the topic of speeding at the RSA’s Annual Conference today. Rod King MBE, founder and Campaign Director of ‘20s plenty – Love 30’ will speak on the benefits of 30km/h speed limits. Rod has played an instrumental role in empowering local communities in the UK to campaign for default 30km/h limits on urban streets. Guro Ranes, Director of Road Traffic Safety, Norwegian Public Roads Administration will also guide attendees through Norway’s approach in tackling speeding with a particular focus on graduated speeding penalties.

Speaking at the RSA’s Annual Conference, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Ms. Hildegarde Naughton said: “As of today there have been 122 people killed on the road, an increase of 11 on this day last year, and compared to 2019. In response to the increase in road deaths this year, this summer I announced that I was bringing forward the implementation of Action 30 in the Road Safety Strategy to review the penalties for serious road traffic offences and said that I intended to increase the fines for those offences that significantly contribute to road deaths.

Last week I signed the necessary regulations, which will double the fixed charge penalty for a total of 16 high-risk driving offences including speeding, use of a mobile phone while driving, failure to wear a seatbelt or use an appropriate child restraint, and unaccompanied learner driving. This increase will come into effect after midnight tonight. These fines have not increased since they were introduced, in some cases almost 20 years ago. Increasing fines for road offences will act as a stronger deterrent to those who choose to break our lifesaving rules of the road.”

Minister Naughton added, “Ireland’s current Road Safety Strategy outlines Safe Speeds as one of the main priority intervention areas. I’m delighted to see an emphasis, in today’s annual conference, on 30km/h speed limits. Setting more 30km/h speed limits on our streets is essential if we are to make our cities, towns and villages safe for communities, but it also has a role to play in tackling climate change and encouraging modal shift to more sustainable transport options.”

Ms Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority said: “Speed continues to be a contributory factor to fatal collisions in Ireland. Analysis of Irish Coronial data shows that one quarter of driver fatalities with a record of their actions available were exceeding a safe speed. Recent survey research conducted by the RSA** found that a third of drivers admitted to exceeding 50km/h speed limits by more than 10km/h ‘at least sometimes’. The same research found that just under a third of drivers reported exceeding 100km/h speed limits by more than 10km/h ‘at least sometimes’. This behaviour is concerning and that is why I want to commend the Minister’s decision to double the fines for drivers who break lifesaving rules of the road. It is timely as we head into a high-risk Bank Holiday and should help put us on the path to reduce deaths and serious injuries by 50% by the end of the decade.”

While the fine for 16 road traffic offences will increase to either €120 or €160 on the 27 October, it should be noted that if a driver fails to pay the fine within a 28 day period it increases to €180 or €240. Fail to pay after a further 28 day period and the fine increases to €240 or €320. In addition to the fines it is worth remembering that the choice to speed, use a mobile phone while driving or not properly restrain a child could lead to you losing your licence – if you are detected speeding you will receive 3 penalty points on your licence, if you get 12 penalty points in three years you will be disqualified for 6 months. A lower threshold of 7 points applies for learner and novice drivers.

Road Safety Authority’s Annual Conference Tackling Speeding – Risk Factors and Interventions will hear from experts at home including the RSA, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, the HSE and Ireland’s Love 30 Campaign.

International experts will also make presentations including Rod King MBE. Rod has played an instrumental role in empowering local communities in the UK to implement 30km/h speed zones. Dr Judy Fleiter, Global Manager with the Global Road Safety Partnership will discuss the motivations for speed choices on the road. Guro Ranes, Director of Road Traffic Safety, Norwegian Public Roads Administration who discuss Norway’s approach in tackling speeding with a particular focus on graduated speeding.

The World Health Organisation has estimated that a 5% reduction in average speed could result in a 30% reduction in fatal collisions, and therefore reducing motorists’ speed is essential to improving safety on our roads.

As of 26 October 2022 there have been 123 people killed on Irish roads this is an increase of 12 fatalities compared to the same date last year.

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