RSA states that It Is Time To Talk This May Public Holiday Weekend

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The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is appealing to road users to consider the devastating consequences of dangerous driving habits in its new campaign “Time to Talk”.

The hard-hitting campaign calls on friends and family members to “Chat to your loved ones about their driving today. So you don’t lose them tomorrow.” It will be live on radio, social channels and out of home from Bank Holiday Monday.

The campaign features stark funereal imagery, including a hearse and funeral notice, and aims to make people imagine what it would be like to lose a loved one in a road crash.

The campaign was created following the allocation by the Government last month of a further €3 million of funding to tackle the increasing numbers of fatalities on Irish roads.

Provisional analysis from the RSA shows that 69 lives have been lost on Irish roads this year, 16 more than the equivalent period last year.

The new campaign coincides with a call from the RSA and An Garda Síochána for drivers to slow down this bank holiday weekend.

The call comes as a self-report survey commissioned by the RSA in 2023 found that one in four drivers think speeding more than 10km/h over the speed limit is acceptable. The survey also found that 25% of drivers regularly exceed 100km/h limits by more than 10km, and 31% regularly exceed 50km/h limits by more than 10km.

A separate observational study last year found that 58% of motorists were driving over the speed limit on 30km/h roads.

According to the findings of the 2023 self-report survey, the social acceptability of drink-driving has increased since 2019 with a quarter of motorists agreeing that “driving short distances after having a drink is acceptable” and acknowledging that “they may have been over the limit when driving the morning after night out”.

Minister of State at the Department of Transport and at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, Jack Chambers said: “Four of the main causes of road fatalities are speeding, intoxicated driving, distracted driving and non-wearing of seat belts.  The Road Traffic Act, recently signed into law, targets these killer behaviours and is a strong legislative response to the really worrying trends we have seen in recent times. In addition, awareness and communications are also essential road safety interventions. Today we are using the May Bank Holiday appeal to launch this new hard-hitting and incredibly stark campaign which forces road users to consider the real-world consequences and impacts of dangerous driving. It also encourages families and friends to discuss road safety and the measures that individuals can take to make our roads safer for all.”

Ahead of the bank holiday, drivers and all other road users are being reminded to plan ahead and organise a safe way home if out socialising over the coming days. This means arranging a lift, leaving the car and the keys at home, agreeing a designated driver, booking a taxi, or taking public transport. Walking home under the influence of alcohol or drugs can also put you and other road users at risk.

Two people every hour were stopped by An Garda Siochana for either drink or drug driving over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend last month.

Sam Waide, CEO, Road Safety Authority, said: “All road users have a duty of care to share the road in a safe and socially responsible way. Anyone who drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a danger to themselves and others. Please plan safe travel to enjoy your festivities but also plan for the following day if you’ve had a big night and are on the move the morning after. Driving under the influence of drugs can seriously affect a driver’s motor skills, and ability to control a motor vehicle on the road. If you are detected drug driving you will face a court appearance and if found guilty, a minimum driving disqualification of one year. Ask yourself is it worth the risk? Losing your licence and possibly your job.”

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement, An Garda Síochána said: “Gardaí across the country will be monitoring our roads this May Bank Holiday Weekend to implement a comprehensive Roads Policing operation. We work all year round to enforce the road traffic laws and detect traffic offences which we know increase the risk of death or serious injury on our roads. This risk is unfortunately elevated during bank holiday weekends when more people will be out and about.

“We are urging people to never, ever get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of drink or drugs. Please slow down and drive at an appropriate speed, always wear your seatbelt and do not be distracted by a phone while driving.

“Anyone who does not comply with road traffic laws run the risk not only of financial penalty or losing their licence, but far worse is the potential of causing serious and/or fatal injuries to others.

“We are asking everyone using our roads this long weekend to take extra caution and look out for each other to ensure a safe and enjoyable May Bank Holiday.”

This May 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 03 May and 2-8pm on Monday 06 May – just mention RSA at the Applegreen till when you’re getting your coffee.