An Garda Síochána last week announced details of a new national road safety enforcement operation that will target driver behaviour for the remainder of 2021.
Operation ‘Teorainn’ will be mounted nationwide and focus on speeding, driving whilst intoxicated, non-seatbelt wearing and mobile phone use, as well as unaccompanied driving by learner drivers, plus road transport offences.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) will support Operation ‘Teorainn’ with a programme of road safety awareness campaigns.
The joint road safety drive comes after a bad summer for road safety this year, particularly August which recorded the highest number of monthly fatalities (24) since June 2012 (26).
The number of deaths overall this year to date at 110 is a cause for concern, but particularly the number of driver deaths. There has been a 19 per cent increase in the number of drivers killed (57) this year compared to the number of drivers killed (48) up to the same period in 2020.
Seventy-eight per cent of fatalities to date this year have occurred on rural roads with a speed limit of 80km/h or above, which will be a particular focus of Operation ‘Teorainn’.
With just 11 weeks remaining in 2021, An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority are calling on road users, and particularly drivers, to make a greater effort to stay safe on the road. Thirty-three people were killed in the final three months of last year, according to figures from An Garda Síochána.
Chief Superintendent Michael Hennebry, Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, said: “Every fatal or serious injury collision has a devastating impact on the family, friends and communities of the people involved.
“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.”
Commenting on the joint road safety initiative, Sam Waide, CEO, RSA said: “The RSA will 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.
“The RSA also plans to deploy two new radio and digital led interventions in support of the garda enforcement effort. 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.”
Of the second campaign, Waide added: “This is targeted at male drivers. Analysis of collision data clearly tells us that road safety is a significant male problem. 79 per cent 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.”
To date in 2021, a total of 111 lives have been lost on Irish roads in 100 fatal collisions. This is 10 less fatalities and 10 less fatal collisions than at the same date in 2020.