Drivers warned to be extra careful on roads this festive season

by Sylvia Pownall
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Gardai and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have highlighted the life-changing impact of serious crash injuries, urging caution over the New Year period.

A total of 3,518 people have been seriously injured on the nation’s roads between 2014 and 2017 – that’s almost three per day over the space of four years.

Dublin accounted for the majority of serious injury collisions, with 29%; Cork accounted for 11%, while Galway accounted for 5% and Limerick for 4%.

Vulnerable road users – including motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists – represented half of all serious injuries, according to research from the RSA, with the majority of those incidents in urban areas.

Liz O’Donnell, chairperson of the RSA, said: “Road deaths represent only the tip of the iceberg of road collisions.

“Survivors of a serious collision may be viewed as ‘the lucky ones’, but in reality, they are often dealing with life-changing injuries and personal trauma requiring many months and years of medical attention, rehabilitation and support.

“Not only are they learning to cope with their injuries, but their families, friends and loved ones are also coming to terms with these life-changing injuries and how to support them every day.

“Our message this Christmas season is: Stay safe on the roads, and make sure you get home safely’,” she added.

More than 300 suspected drunk drivers were arrested in the first two weeks of a six-week Christmas safety campaign, with 37 motorists detected driving under the influence of drugs since November 29.

A total of 89 extra gardai were assigned across Dublin in late November to help traffic flow through increased patrols on major routes and link roads.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris warned that checkpoints would be in place across the capital over the Christmas period.

He said the clampdown would “include a focus on Mandatory Intoxicant Testing checkpoints to deter people from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of both”.

Gardai have also launched a Park Smart campaign, encouraging drivers to avoid leaving Christmas presents and other valuables in clear sight and to place them in the boot instead.

They revealed that nearly a third of vehicles broken into in the past four years were left unlocked – and most of the offences between January, 2016 and December, 2019 took place in Dublin.

In the Greater Dublin Area, 24,161 thefts from vehicles were reported, with the majority taking place in the Western Dublin Metropolitan Region (5,756 thefts, or 12.4%) and the Northern DMR (5,665, or 12.2%).

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