weekend warning | 

Bank Holiday road appeal issued by gardaí after deadliest January in a decade

Twenty people have been killed on Irish roads since the beginning of this year.

A garda checkpoint. File photo

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Gardaí have appealed to all road users to stay safe this bank holiday weekend, as it emerged that January was the deadliest month on Irish roads in a decade.

Twenty people have been killed on Irish roads since the beginning of this year, with 18 losing their lives in January.

Gardaí have now issued a new appeal as the bank holiday weekend gets underway - a time when “the risks of fatal and serious injury collisions” are known to increase.

More than 50,000 road crashes were recorded last year, leading to the deaths of 156 people.

Over 8,000 drivers were caught by gardaí driving under the influence.

And some 165, 513 fixed notice charges were issued for speeding offences.

Speaking at a checkpoint outside Ardee, Co Louth this morning, Assistant Commissioner Paula Hillman said: “Bank holiday weekends are a very busy time on the roads and our experience is that the risk of fatal and serious injury collisions increases during these periods.

"This year to date there have been 20 fatalities on the roads. We are asking everyone to work together in keeping our roads safe.

"Similarly to other bank holidays, this weekend we will be focusing on the four lifesaver offences; driving under the influence, speeding, non-wearing of seat belts and mobile phone use.

"An Garda Síochána will engage with the public and work with our partners to keep people safe on our roads, this bank holiday weekend.

"During the hours of darkness, please ensure that you are clearly visible to other road users.

"60% of fatalities to date this year have been drivers, therefore I would ask all drivers to reduce their speed and arrive safely to their destination this weekend.

"Finally, I want to wish you all a safe and enjoyable St Brigid's weekend."

Jack Chambers, the Minister of State at the Department of Transport, warned drivers that fines for 16 road traffic offences – including speeding – doubled in October.

Speeding fines have been hiked from €80 to €160, while the penalties for using a mobile phone, not wearing a seatbelt, and not properly securing a child, climbed from €60 to €120.

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