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Gardaí setting up mandatory intoxicant testing checkpoints in Tipperary this Christmas

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Gardaí and RSA launching Christmas and New Year road safety campaign

RSA and An Garda Síochána highlight life-changing impact of serious injuries on Irish roads

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have called on all road users to act responsibly and safely when using the roads throughout the Christmas and New Year period.

This year’s Christmas and New Year road safety appeal, which was made at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, focuses on those who have suffered serious injuries in road traffic collisions.

Research presented at the launch by the RSA shows that 3,518 road users suffered life-altering injuries between the years 2014 to 2017, with vulnerable road users (motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists) representing half (50%) of all serious injuries as a result of road collisions.

Of those seriously injured, 64% were male. 36% were aged 18 to 34 and 41% were aged 35 to 64. The research revealed that a greater proportion of serious injuries amongst drivers and passengers happen on rural roads (speed limit greater than 80 km/h). While for vulnerable road users, the opposite pattern emerged, with 84% and 79% of serious injuries amongst pedestrians and cyclists respectively occurring on urban roads (speed limit less than 60 km/h).

Dublin accounted for the majority of serious injury collisions (29%), Cork accounted for 11% of serious injury collisions while Galway accounted for 5% and Limerick for 4%.

“Today’s Christmas and New Year road safety appeal serves as a serious reminder to us all of the life-changing consequences of road traffic collisions particularly for vulnerable road users," says Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport  Shane Ross.

"It is for this reason that I recently introduced an amendment to the dangerous overtaking laws to target drivers who put the lives of cyclists at risk with dangerous overtaking. It is also why I am introducing a system of graduated speeding fines, which will see higher penalties for drivers who break the speed limit by significant amounts. We have graduated penalties for drink driving so we believe we should have them for speeding as well.”

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris adds: “An Garda Síochána is committed to working to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on our roads. We would like to thank the majority of the public who have heeded the road safety messages throughout the year and have helped to improve safety on Irish roads.

"Unfortunately there are still some people who are prepared to put their own and other people’s lives at risk. From this weekend, An Garda Síochána will be launching its six week Christmas and New Year road safety campaign. This will include a focus on mandatory intoxicant testing checkpoints around the country to deter people from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of both.  Of course our members will continue to enforce all other road traffic legislation, including the more recent dangerous overtaking of cyclists and unaccompanied learner driver laws.”

RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock adds: "The RSA and An Garda Síochána are supporting the Coca-Cola Designated Driver campaign again this year. Coca-Cola will offer two free drinks from the Coca-Cola range that can be redeemed in participating bars and restaurants across Ireland."

To date in 2019, a total of 133 people have died on our roads, seven more than in 2018.