Traffic offences across Tipperary Garda Division discussed at JPC meeting
Serious injury collisions have increased by 9% (23 to 25) in the Tipperary Garda Division, the recent County Joint Policing Committee meeting was told.
However, Tipperary Garda Division’s Chief Superintendent Derek Smart said year-to-date (December 1, 2020) figures show that fatal collisions have decreased by 46% (13 to seven). “Unfortunately any one of these deaths is one too many and we will continue to focus on this area in 2021,” he said.
He said there have been 1,404 Mandatory Intoxication Test (MIT) checkpoints conducted in the Division, down 67% from last year as a result of Covid-19. These MIT checkpoints have resulted in 320 driving while intoxicated offences (-3%), which includes 78 drug driving offences.
Gardaí detected an 11% increase (660 to 734) in people using mobile phones while driving, a 20% increase (214 to 256) in people not wearing a seatbelt while driving and an 80% increase (1,872 to 3,362) in motorists speeding.
“When you consider the reduction in vehicles on the roads for a lot of this year during the Level 5 restrictions, it just shows you that people are willing to take a chance. It is something that we are going to have to keep enforcing in order to keep our accident rates down,” he said.
He said males across all age categories dominate the offence count, with the highest number of male offenders in the 31-35 age bracket.
Martin Browne TD said speed ramps in housing estates would slow motorists down.
In reply, Chief Superintendent Smart said speed ramps are “vital” in housing estates. “I have no difficulty with them,” he said.
“They slow down traffic and keep it to a pace that gives children some chance if they run out on a road,” he added.
Cllr Mark Fitzgerald said speeding is a “massive issue” in towns and villages throughout the county. Unfortunately in my own village [of Cloneen] we have the driver feedback signs, but we have a small cohort of young people using them to try to hit 100km/h,” he said.
He called for a collaborative approach between the gardaí and Tipperary County Council to address the issue.
In reply to Cllr Fitzgerald, Chief Superintendent Smart said he would give a presentation at the Roads Strategic Policy Committee and that he would bring along Superintendent Eddie Golden, who has worked at the Garda Roads Policing Bureau.
He also hopes to get gardaí into local schools to raise road safety awareness. “You might not listen to the beeper, but if the child in the back of the car is telling you to put on your safety belt you’ll put on your safety belt. Education is needed in this area,” he said.
He said gardaí are planning ways to reduce speeding. “We are looking at an electronic system on the M7 motorway, which will allow us to measure speed and to reduce it. We have an issue around Birdhill in particular where we have a number of traffic accidents occurring when the weather gets bad,” he said.
“We are looking at rolling out an initiative, similar to the one at the Dublin Port Tunnel where speed is measured as you come into the tunnel and then it’s calculated when coming out the other end of it. The system can tell the speed of the car during that section of road.
“It will be very much overt, people will see it and be warned that their speed will be captured,” he added.