Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Have a safe new year, drivers urged

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar urged travellers to take care over the new year festivities

Motorists have been warned to take extra care as they ring in the new year.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) also urged all road users, including pedestrians, to take personal responsibility after eight deaths in just seven days over Christmas.

Noel Brett, RSA chief executive, appealed to all drivers who are planning on celebrating the new year not to get behind the wheel of a car while impaired through either drink, drugs or fatigue.

"Watch out for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, and expect the unexpected," he said. He also urged those out socialising "not to take a lift from a driver who has consumed alcohol or drugs".

A total of 185 people have been killed on Irish roads so far this year, including 45 pedestrians. Pedestrians and cyclists are reminded to wear something reflective and to never walk on motorways or dual carriageways.

"If you are going out for a drink, leave the keys at home," Mr Brett continued. "Get a taxi, minibus, public transport or take turns to designate a driver. We want to make sure that you get home safely. And don't forget that time is the only way to get alcohol out of your system, so don't assume you are safe to drive the morning after a night out.

"If you see someone you know who is in danger please do offer them a lift or call a taxi for them. Don't leave an intoxicated person at risk on the road. In this season of goodwill please do the responsible thing and don't assume that someone else will."

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said the Christmas period has been very bad in terms of road safety.

"We've lost a lot of people on the roads, pedestrians in particular, and for the families of those affected, Christmas will never be the same again," he said. "My sympathies go out to all of the people who lost a loved one on the roads in the last few weeks.

"Overall though 2011 is going to be a good year for road safety. It looks like less than 200 people will have lost their lives on the roads this year, which is the lowest since records began and will make us one of the three safest countries in Europe in which to use the roads."

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