By Dylan Kerrigan
Dylan Kerrigan discusses offences and fatalities on Irish roads so far this year.
As 2021 draws to a close, provisional figures show offences such as speeding, driving whilst using a mobile phone and driving whilst intoxicated are the biggest problem on Irish roads.
As of October, provisional road policing figures, which are operational and subject to change, show that 78% of offences are due to speeding. Using a mobile phone (11%) is the second most popular offence followed by failing to wear a seatbelt (4%), driving whilst intoxicated (4%) and dangerous driving (3%).
According to An Garda Síochána, as of the 8th of December, there has been 124 fatalities on Irish roads so far this year. 17 of those have been pedestrians, 67 have been drivers, 14 have been passengers, 20 were motorcyclists and six were pedal cyclists.
Five fatalities occurred in November alone.
There has been a decrease in road deaths compared to the same period in 2020, where 140 fatalities had occurred at the same stage. Road collisions have also fallen, with 129 occurring by the 8th of December 2020 compared to 113 so far in 2021.
The counties with the highest fatalities so far this year are Dublin with 17, Meath and Galway with 11, Tipperary with 8, and Cork 8.
The European Union has launched the next steps of their ‘vision zero’ policy, which “sets new intermediate targets to halve the number of fatalities- and for the first time- also the number of serious injuries on European roads by 2030.” EU Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean said. “We still face a situation where more than 25,000 people die on our roads every year and more than 135,000 are seriously injured” across the EU.
Those who were intoxicated whilst driving increased for the month of October compared to 2020. 745 offences took place in October 2021, where 634 were committed in October 2020. 11,543 roadside breath tests were carried out across October.
Coca-Cola have recently relaunched the ‘designated driver’ campaign for the Christmas period, ensuring “that designated drivers are rewarded throughout the month and will be offered two free soft drinks at participating venues once again.” The campaign acknowledges those who stay sober on nights out to make sure their friends and loved ones get home safely. It is supported by the RSA, An Garda Síochána and Drinkaware. Chief Executive of the RSA, Sam Waide also told RSA.ie that along with receiving two free soft drinks and water, drivers will have “free parking in Qparks in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast.”
The RSA also continues to spread awareness regarding road safety across the Irish media.
On the 29th of November, the campaign “Crashed Lives” featured across media outlets. The campaign deals with the consequences drink driving has on families. The RSA explained that “In ‘For Ciarån’, our TV ad, we see a true-life story of how drink driving destroys lives, families and communities.” The campaign deals with the death of a young child, “who was killed in a head on collision with a drunk driver in 2014.” The overall message of the campaign is to “stop and think of Ciarán the next time you consider drink driving, find another way home and never drink and drive”.
Many more campaigns continue to be broadcasted, such as seatbelts, anatomy of a split second which “highlights the consequences of using a mobile phone while driving.”, anti-speeding, anti-drug driving and cyclist’s awareness.
The 21st of December will see the ‘Be Safe, Be Seen’ initiative take place before Christmas, where the “RSA are calling on the public to don high visibility clothing, carry torches and take appropriate precautions when using the roads.”