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18/01/2017 - It is time to wise up and cop on to Road Safety

The recently published provisional review of road fatalities showed, as of 31 December 2016, there were 175 fatal collisions, which have resulted in 187 fatalities on Irish roads. This represents 13% more collisions (+20) and 15% more deaths (+25) compared to provisional Garda data for the same period in 2015.


In Donegal in 2016, there were 7 fatal collisions, which resulted in the deaths of 11 people. Up to the 27 July 2016 there had been 1 death on Donegal’s roads, but over the following 8 weeks there were 9 more tragic deaths. 3 collisions claimed 7 lives during that period.


Switch off the phone

Research shows that being distracted when driving, by using a mobile phone, increases the risk of being involved in a collision.  Simply taking your eyes off the road for any length of time, increases the risk of a collision.  A short lapse of concentration can have lifelong consequences. Your mobile phone makes you four times more likely to crash, but if you are texting you are a staggering twenty-three times more likely to be involved in a collision.  


Switch off the phone, put it on silent or put it out of reach, but do whatever you need to, and remove the impulse to use your mobile phone when driving.


Speed kills

Of the 867 collisions analysed from 2008-2012, 274 (32%) were cited as having excessive speed for the road and conditions as a contributory factor to the collision, either travelling above the speed limit or too fast for the conditions.  Thousands were also injured, and will carry their injuries for life.  Speeding is a result of human behaviour, which is a choice a driver makes. In a road traffic collision, speeding makes everything worse and the combination of speed with human error or the unexpected and the consequences of the collision will be tragic.


Never ever drink and drive

Alcohol impairs decision-making even at very low levels, so the best plan is to plan how you’ll get home before you start drinking.  A recent RSA report published shows that alcohol was a factor in 38% of all fatal collisions between 2008 and 2012, accounting for the deaths of 286 people.


738 motorists were arrested on suspicion of drink driving from 1 to 30 December  2016, up 34% on same period last year. Drink Driving destroys and shatters lives. Never drink & drive.


Seatbelts save lives

An analysis of road fatalities for 2015 showed that, 1 in 4 drivers killed (20) and 1 in 3 passengers killed (9) were not wearing their seatbelt at the time of the collision. Wearing a seatbelt is not about personal choice, it’s about common sense, so, put your seatbelt on every single time you get into the car. Seatbelts save lives.


Driver fatigue is dangerous and potentially deadly

Driver fatigue is dangerous and potentially deadly.  If you're already behind the wheel when you start to feel drowsy, the best remedy is to pull over and have a caffeine drink and a 15 minute nap. You may think you can push through the fatigue, but you can't fight sleep.


Be safe be seen

In recent years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of people walking, cycling and motorcycling, and it is encouraging to see so many of these road-users wearing high visibility material when out on the roads, but a large number still do not. So it is vitally important to encourage everyone to wear high viz clothing so as to be seen by other road users. Pedestrians and motorcyclists were the most vulnerable road users in 2016 with 35 pedestrians, 21 motorcyclists killed, along with 10 pedal cyclists.


Brian O’Donnell, Road Safety Officer stated, “if you drink and drive or drug drive, you are an idiot. There are still people stupid enough to think that a short journey with a few drinks does not matter. One alcoholic drink will impair your driving. The stark reality behind the statistics is that drink driving does not happen by chance, drink driving happens by choice. We need to get the message to everyone, that before they get into a car, to stop and think, because the trauma and devastation that is brought on your family and on the local community as a result of a road traffic collision is totally avoidable”.


“Driver distraction, not wearing seatbelts, drink driving and speed are major contributory factors to death and serious injury on our roads. Fact! When the Emergency Services attend the scenes of road traffic collisions and they discover that the drivers and passengers involved were not wearing seatbelts, they have to wonder; Why? More and more drivers and passengers are just not wearing their seatbelts, which is utter madness”.


“Road safety messages are being repeated on a regular basis, but it is obviously not enough, parents need to keep reminding their young people about the dangers of driving too fast, not wearing seatbelts, using mobile phones when driving and drink driving”.


“We must repeat again and again, wherever and whenever we can, because more and more drivers will realise that reckless driving kills. The assistance of the public is needed if they are concerned about the driving behaviour of motorists on our roads; these motorists need to be reported to the relevant authorities. We should never say or think it won’t happen to me, sometimes we are right - it doesn't. Someone else is killed instead; and that's ok?”


“Far too many people have attended wakes, funerals and stood at the graveside of loved ones or friends involved in road traffic collisions. Everyone of us needs to take responsibility and help to end this carnage”.


22 people have lost their lives in Donegal in the last 2 years. Real people, real lives, really gone. Before you start a journey on the road – THINK – Because you may never get a second chance to say goodbye.



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