An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority released a joint road safety message earlier this week as driving conditions deteriorated around the country.
Speaking on Monday, Chief Superintendent Finbarr Murphy, Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, said that An Garda Síochána was “deeply saddened by the horrific death toll on Irish roads” last weekend and assured road users that the Gardaí were working closely with road safety partners to build on the reduction in road deaths of previous years.
“While we welcome the reduction of fatalities that we have witnessed over the past two years, events over the past week demonstrate that we cannot afford to be complacent in any manner and I appeal to all roads users to be extra vigilant – in particular on dark evenings and while using unlit or poorly-lit roads. Be safe, be seen, be careful and be on the alert for other road users.
“I would like to thank the majority of law abiding road users who act responsibly and support Garda initiatives. Your behaviour saves lives and I want to acknowledge this. However, despite this there are drivers who refuse to get the message.
“An Garda Síochána will continue our programme of testing as many people as possible at mandatory intoxicant checkpoints, road traffic collisions and where a road traffic offence is detected.
“We will also continue to work with our partners in ‘GoSafe’ to tackle the dangers associated with speed. The development of the safety camera zones has had an enormous impact on safety of our roads. This combined with An Garda Síochána’s own speed enforcement activities continues to form a key part of our strategy to reduce road deaths.
“There is no place on our roads for people who do not comply with legislation, these people are putting not only their own lives at risk but also the lives of all other road users”.
Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority, said it was especially important to heed warnings as weather conditions look set to worsen: “We have had a dreadful week on our roads. Ten lives lost, four alone in a single collision in Co. Donegal.
“Our deepest sympathies are not only with the families of the bereaved who have lost their loved ones over the weekend but indeed with all the families of victims of road crashes so far this year.
“I hope that this appalling loss of life will serve as a reminder to us all that life is fragile and using the roads is the most dangerous thing we do each day. Nobody ever believes it will happen to them but tragedy can strike anywhere at any time on the road. We need to remember this every time we set out on a journey.
“I would appeal to road users to slow down, drive at the right speed for the conditions and watch out for vulnerable road users. Don’t drive when impaired through drink, drugs or fatigue and always wear a seatbelt and ensure passengers are wearing theirs too, no matter how short the trip.
“This advice is all the more important given the fact that Met Éireann has issued alerts warnings of the risk of icy roads and also sleet and snow this week”.