Crackdown targets dangerous drivers
Motorists in the south of the country are being targeted in a 24-hour road safety campaign to cut killer behaviour on the roads.
Gardai across Cork, Kerry and Limerick are targeting drivers speeding, using alcohol or drugs, driving dangerously, using a mobile phone and not wearing a seatbelt.
Some 186 people were killed on Irish roads last year, the lowest number of road fatalities since records began in 1959. However, the figure rose in the southern region, from 39 in 2010 to 47.
Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid said the aim of Operation Focus - which began at 6am on Friday - is to remind people that it does not pay to take chances on the roads.
"As a community we all have a duty to ensure that no family should ever lose a loved one on our roads as a result of reckless behaviour," he said.
Over the last 15 months there have been 54 deaths in the three counties. The victims included 22 drivers, six passengers, 16 pedestrians - accounting for more than a third killed - seven motorcyclists and three cyclists. There were 40 men and 14 women, with more than half aged under 33 years. Almost a third of accidents happened between 3pm and 6pm.
Nationally, 10,878 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence last year, with 262,602 fined and given penalty points for speeding, 33,279 for using mobile phones and 15,645 for not wearing seat belts.
Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahoney said: "While the continued downward trend in fatalities is to be welcomed we appeal to road users to continue to focus on road safety in order that we can continue the reduction in deaths and serious injury and spare families the pain and grief associated with such sudden loss of a loved one."
A motorist in his 60s was later killed in a car crash in Mullingar - bringing the death toll on Irish roads so far this year to 45.
The other driver, a woman, and her three sons suffered minor injuries and were taken to the Midland Regional Hospital for treatment. The collision happened on the N4, the Mullingar bypass, in the townland of Collemore at about 1pm on Friday. Gardai have appealed for witnesses.