Fifty people have been killed on Irish roads so far this year, with the country now in danger of reporting its highest number of road deaths in a decade.
An urgent appeal has been issued by the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána for road users to slow down, wear seatbelts and not to drive when impaired during the Easter bank holiday weekend.
Provisional Garda figures show that 50 people have died on Irish roads to date this year compared to 29 up to the same date last year, an increase of 72 per cent.
Minister of State for Transport Hildegarde Naughton said the increase in road deaths this year was “deeply concerning.”
“We must all take action to reverse this trend by taking greater care when using the road – especially over the high-risk Easter bank holiday period,” she said at the launch of the road safety appeal on Wednesday,
Four people died and eight were seriously injured over the Easter bank holiday last year, she said.
While the RSA and An Garda Síochána have issued a general appeal for road users to take greater care on the road this Easter, they will also be focused on drug-driving.
Figures for the full year 2021 show that more than 3,300 people were arrested for drug-driving. The number of arrests in 2022, up to March 31st, is 768.
Analysis by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) shows that cannabis and cocaine remain the most detected drugs in drivers on Irish roads.
Sam Waide, chief executive of the RSA said there had been an “appalling start to the year” on the roads with 50 lives lost.
Assistant Garda Commissioner Paula Hilman said over the Easter period, motorists should “plan their journey and pay attention to other road users”.
“We want everyone to stay safe and enjoy the holiday period. Remember that every decision you make on the road counts,” she said.
This weekend drivers are being reminded that the RSA and participating Applegreen service stations are providing free cups of coffee to drivers to help combat driver fatigue. The offer is available from 2-8pm on Friday, April 15th, and Monday, April 18th.