'Our roads are shared spaces': Gardaí to clamp down on drivers flouting laws

Checkpoints will target drink- and drug-drivers, as well as motorists who flout mobile phone, seat belt, and speeding laws.
'Our roads are shared spaces': Gardaí to clamp down on drivers flouting laws

The Garda operations will be backed up by a mass media campaign from the Road Safety Authority. Picture: Larry Cummins

A GARDA operation is set to target driver behaviour for the rest of this year.

Operation Teorainn will involve nationwide checkpoints to target drink- and drug-drivers, as well as motorists who flout mobile phone, seat belt, and speeding laws.

According to the Road Safety Authority (RSA), there were 24 road deaths in August, the highest number of monthly fatalities since June 2012, when there were 26 deaths.

So far this year, there have been 111 deaths on Irish roads, down 10 on the same period last year.

However, the RSA says there has been a 19% increase in the number of drivers killed this year compared to the same period in 2020 —up from 48 in 2020 to 57 this year.

To date this year, 78% of fatalities have occurred on rural roads with a speed limit of 80km/h or above, which will be a particular focus of Operation Teorainn.

“Every fatal or serious injury collision has a devastating impact on the family, friends, and communities of the people involved,” said Chief Superintendent Michael Hennebry of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau. “Our focus for the remainder of 2021 will be to reduce these collisions through this road safety enforcement campaign.

“Our roads are shared spaces, and we all have a duty of care, to ourselves and to others, to keep each and every road user safe.

“I am urging every road user to play their part by complying with the road traffic legislation and assist An Garda Síochána to make our roads safer places for all,” he said.

RSA chief executive Sam Waide said the authority would be supporting Operation Teorainn by running an “intensive education and awareness-raising programme of activity”.

This will include mass media campaigns focused on the main contributing factors to road-user fatalities and injuries, namely speeding, drink-driving, drug-driving, and non-seat belt wearing.

Learner and novice drivers 

“The RSA also plans to deploy two new radio and digital-led interventions in support of the Garda enforcement effort,” Mr Waide said. “The first will target learner and novice drivers to remind them that they are subject to a lower penalty point threshold than ordinary drivers. If they accumulate seven points in a three-year period, they face disqualification for six months. It will also remind learner drivers that if they drive unaccompanied, they face two penalty points, an €80 fine, and their car will be seized and impounded.”

Male drivers target of campaign

The second campaign is targeted at male drivers.

“Analysis of collision data clearly tells us that road safety is a significant male problem,” Mr Waide said. "79% of driver fatalities between 2016-2020 were male. 

"We will be laying bare more of these facts and challenging males to examine their road behaviour in our new campaign.”

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