Belfast Telegraph

Operation Slow Down gets into gear

A high-profile campaign to get motorists to curb their speed will be held this weekend.

Operation Slow Down will target killer driver behaviour and attempt to get road users to stick to appropriate speed limits. From 7am on Friday, a 24-hour high visibility campaign will be held to raise awareness of the dangers of excessive speed.

A total of 96 people have been killed in road crashes so far this year, with 25 in June. Another 97,000 drivers were detected for speeding offences.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said a speed limit is not a target.

"What we are dealing with here is people's lives," he said.

"We are forever asking people to co-operate with us on a variety of issues, particularly around crime prevention and reduction. But road traffic accidents and reducing fatalities are just as important."

Launching the operation with the Road Safety Authority (RSA), the commissioner warned gardai will be using all available manpower and technology in their arsenal during the operation.

Operation Slow Down is being carried out this weekend as statistics show Friday and Saturday are the most dangerous days on the road and July and August the peak time for crashes.

Garda revealed a distracted motorist driving at high speed would also need about 140 metres, the length of Croke Park, to stop. A 1% reduction in speed will also lead to a 4% drop in fatal collisions, they added.

Garda Derek Cloughley, of the Road Safety Unit, said if a driver travelling at 100kmph slowed down to 90kmph it would add just six minutes to a journey. He said: "What are you going to do in six minutes, make a cup of tea?. But by reducing your speed by 10kmph, it significantly increases your road safety."

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