The Road Safety Authority and the Garda Siochana have named Friday, May 22nd as National Slow Down day. For 24 hours, from 07.00hrs on Friday 22 May to 07.00hrs on Saturday 23 May 2020, the Guards will have a national speed limit enforcement campaign in place.
High visibility speeding enforcement
The operation will use highly-visible speed enforcement in 1,322 locations across the country. Government Departments, Local Authorities, public and private sector fleet operators are invited to participate in the initiative by circulating employees with the key message to "Slow Down" and, whether driving for business or private purposes, to always drive within the speed limit and at a speed appropriate to the prevailing conditions.
According to both the Guards and the RSA, the extra enforcement is needed because, in spite of the Covid-19 lockdown, there have been an extra five deaths on Irish roads so far this year, compared to 2019. Indeed, the lockdown may actually be contributing to the increase in road deaths, in spite of the massive reduction in traffic.
More vulnerable users taking to the roads
Mr. John Caulfield, Interim CEO, Road Safety Authority, said: "Even though traffic volumes have reduced, the need for drivers to slow down has never been greater. Anyone out driving will probably encounter large numbers of people out walking, jogging and cycling within five kilometres of their homes. Vulnerable road users will probably need to social distance too when sharing the road. This means that drivers really need to be alert to their presence. Care also needs to be taken by pedestrians, to ensure their safety, by using a footpath. Where there is none, they need to walk as near as possible to the right-hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic. But regardless of who is at fault, the speed at which the collision occurs determines the severity of that crash. For example, if a pedestrian or cyclist is hit at 60km/h they only have a 10 per cent chance of survival, but if hit at 30km/h they have a 90 per cent chance of surviving. By slowing down a driver will have more time and space to react to any potential hazard on the road. It also increases the likelihood of surviving a crash."
Small percentage of speeders
Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary, Roads Policing Bureau said: "National Slow Down day is about making our roads and our communities safer. During the current Covid-19 restrictions we have seen an increase in the number of vulnerable users on our roads. Excessive or inappropriate speed contributes to serious injuries and fatalities. Despite reduced volumes of traffic on our roads, the levels of speed has increased. Whilst the vast majority of drivers drive safely within the speed limits, and it is most welcome, there still remain those who continue to drive at excessive speeds. We will maintain our focus on non-compliant drivers as they pose a risk to themselves and other road users
"Despite the reductions in traffic associated with Covid-19 we have continued to see a small percentage of motorists who travel at excessively high speeds both in urban and rural areas. In these times with more vulnerable persons on our roads, pedestrians and cyclists, we appeal to motorists to be aware of the posted speed limits and also while travelling to be conscious of the presence of other road users. We are appealing for all motorists to drive safely and please don't be one of those detected speeding on Slow Down day."