National Slow Down day to urge drivers to reduce speed on Irish roads

National Slow Down day to urge drivers to reduce speed on Irish roads

An Garda Síochána is set to conduct a national ‘Slow Down’ operation for a 24-hour period from 7am on Friday, March 26 to 7am on Saturday, March 27.

An Garda Síochána is set to conduct a national ‘Slow Down’ operation for a 24-hour period from 7am on Friday, March 26 to 7am on Saturday, March 27.

The aim of the operation, which is supported by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), is to remind drivers of the dangers of speeding, to increase compliance with speed limits and act as a deterrent to driving at an excessive or inappropriate speed.

The overall objective is to reduce the number of speed-related collisions, save lives and reduce injuries on our roads.

An RSA report on fatal collisions between 2008 and 2012 found that excessive speed was a contributory factor in almost one-third of all fatal collisions during that time.

In the period January to December 2020, 137 fatal collisions resulted in 148 fatalities on Irish roads.

Chief Superintendent Ray McMahon of the Roads Policing Bureau thanked those who travel on Irish roads within the speed limits, which he said is “necessary to save lives”.

“While most drivers and riders drive safely and within these limits, there are unfortunately still those who do not. 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. Despite reduced volumes of traffic on our roads the levels of speed has increased.

Chief Superintendent McMahon urged people to reduce the speed, saying that as a general rule, a 1% reduction in average speed will bring about a 4% reduction in fatal collisions.

"We are asking all drivers to support our National ‘Slow Down’ day and not exceed the posted speed limit. It is vital that you adjust your speed to all the road, traffic and weather conditions which prevail at any given time.

“It goes without saying this is not only for one day, but for every day. We will continue to maintain our focus on non-compliant drivers as they pose a risk to themselves and other road users,” he said.

CEO of the Road Safety Authority, Sam Waide, urged people to support the operation “by easing off on the accelerator”.

Speeding is a factor in a third of fatal crashes each year and those most at risk are vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. Hit at 60km/h a pedestrian has only a 10% chance of survival.

“Hit at 30km/h a pedestrian has a 90% chance of survival. Slowing down behaviour saves lives, particularly when road conditions are wet. This means increased braking distances. In these conditions, you need to slow down and leave a greater distance between you and the vehicle in front. It’s also vital that your tyres are in roadworthy condition.

“Make sure they have not fallen below the legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm and check the pressure regularly,” he said.

The operation will consist of high visibility speed enforcement in 1,322 speed enforcement zones.

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