An Garda Síochána supports fresh road safety messages from young students ahead of St Brigid’ Roads Policing Operation 2024

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An extensive Garda Roads Policing Operation is taking place throughout this St Brigid’s Bank Holiday Weekend between 7am Thursday 01/02/24 until 7am Tuesday 06/02/24.

Our data shows that the risk of a fatal or serious injury road traffic collision is highest between 12:00 & 15:00 hrs during the St Brigid’s Day Bank Holiday Weekend and that the risk of a fatal or serious injury road traffic collision is highest on the Friday of the St Brigid’s Day bank holiday weekend.

Today, February 1st 2024, speaking alongside students at the University of Limerick, An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) appealed to motorists to drive safely and without distraction this bank holiday weekend. Bank Holiday Weekends are one of the busiest periods on Irish roads, they are also one of the periods where road users are at the highest risk of being involved in a fatal or serious road traffic collision.

For the month of January 2024, 18 people lost their lives in road traffic collisions on Irish roads, 1 less for the month of January 2023 and an increase of 4 for January 2022.

Across the weekend, An Garda Síochána will be focusing on the four lifesaver offences: (1) Intoxicated driving; (2) Speeding (3) Use of mobile phones (4) Seatbelt offences.

Road Safety Reimagined:

An Garda Síochána and the RSA were joined at today’s media briefing by University of Limerick business students who have been involved in a collaborative project between University of Limerick, An Garda Síochána and Limerick City and County Council, the aim of which was to reimagine road safety through contemporary marketing and to develop solutions to positively affect young driver behaviour.

Project ideas included, ‘comparing the road to the pitch’, ‘one high can lead to a six-foot low’, and more. An Garda Síochána will be amplifying these messages across its social media platforms.

Young Drivers:

According to RSA research, in 2023 the highest risk age among road users was those aged 16-25 years. This group represented 26% of total fatalities (48 fatalities), and the figures represented an overall increase of 23 road user fatalities compared to 2022*.

Background:

The 5 day period of St Brigid’s bank holiday weekend 2023 (7am Thursday 02/02 to 7am Tuesday 07/02, inclusive) resulted in:

  • 1 fatal collision resulting in 1 fatality and 1 serious injury
  • 16 serious injury collisions resulting in a further 16 serious injuries
  • 167 Drivers arrested on suspicion of Drink/Drug Driving35% Drug Driving Detections
  • 20% of arrests occurred between 6am and 2pm).
  • Over 1,100 Mandatory Intoxicating (MIT) Checkpoints carried out
  • Over 2,700 detections for speeding
  • 80 detections for seatbelt offences
  • 255 detections for using a mobile phone
  • 177 FCN’s were issued for Learner Unaccompanied Drivers with 101 vehicles seized from unaccompanied learner drivers under s41 RTA
  • 174 vehicles seized for no insurance under s41 RTA. A further 222 vehicles were seized for no tax.

Chief Superintendent Derek Smart said: “An Garda Síochána is always looking at new and creative ways of appealing to the public to drive safely. The work created by the students in University of Limerick is very impactful and will hopefully resonate with young drivers. We appeal to everyone across the country to look out for one another on the road this weekend. The risk of fatal and serious injury collisions increases during bank holiday weekend periods. Never ever drive under the influence, drive at an appropriate speed, always wear your seatbelt and do not use your mobile phone while driving.”

 

Ms Sarah O’Connor, Director of Partnerships and External Affairs, Road Safety Authority, said: “It is refreshing and reassuring to see new and innovative road safety initiatives presented here today at the University of Limerick. We know the roads are very busy on bank holiday weekends making them a high-risk time for collisions. We are asking all road users to bear this in mind. Driver distraction is thought to play a role in up to 30% of all road collisions. Using your mobile is a significant form of driver distraction as it dangerously impairs your ability to monitor the road ahead and react to any hazards in time. We want people to enjoy the bank holiday but do so safely and don’t take unnecessary risks.”

“According to the Driver Attitudes and Behaviours Survey 2023 commissioned by the RSA, 40% of younger people (aged under 35) check apps at least sometimes while driving, compared to 25% of all motorists. Furthermore, 22% text while driving at least sometimes, compared to 11% of all motorists*. For all drivers, but particularly for younger drivers, the RSA is saying: would it kill you to put it away?”

Dr Christina O’Connor, Associate Professor in Marketing at Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick and joint co-founder of the Road Safety Reimagined project said: “The Road Safety Reimagined project is university education at its best. It is applied, impactful, and resonates with students who are learning to drive or who are young drivers. This year, over 800 students / road users will benefit from working on this project, both within the University of Limerick as well as students from Maynooth University and South-East Technological University. This initiative was born from the desire to serve a social good, to make our roads a safer place and to save lives. To do this, Sgt Tony Miniter and myself wanted to put our students – the future drivers and road users at the centre of this project and challenge them to design and reimagine road safety that will be heard, seen and understood by their peers, friends, families, and communities all over Ireland through impactful marketing campaigns.”

An Garda Síochána appeals to all road users to never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, to slow down and to always choose a speed that is appropriate to the driving conditions, to wear your seatbelt and never use a mobile phone while driving.

This February 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 2pm to 8pm on Friday 2 February and on Monday 5 February. Please see more information hereon the Applegreen campaign.