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Warning to drivers as pedestrian deaths double

Gardai and the RSA have renewed their appeal for road users to take extra care as the number of people out walking, running or cycling increases.

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Gardai and the Road Safety Authority have renewed their appeal for road users to take extra care (Brian Lawless/PA)

Gardai and the Road Safety Authority have renewed their appeal for road users to take extra care (Brian Lawless/PA)

Gardai and the Road Safety Authority have renewed their appeal for road users to take extra care (Brian Lawless/PA)

Twice as many pedestrians have been killed this year compared with the same period last year, new figures show.

A total of 18 pedestrians have died so far this year, prompting road safety officials to warn drivers to slow down as the number of people out walking, running or cycling increases.

The figures also show a 17% rise in fatal collisions compared with 2019.

It comes as gardai launch a roads policing enforcement operation for the bank holiday weekend.

Sixty people have been killed in 56 fatal collisions up to May 27, compared with 55 deaths in 48 fatal collisions up to the same date in 2019.

Gardai and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) renewed their appeal for road users to take extra care when using the roads.

Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary, of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, said the operation will concentrate on main offences including driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, not wearing a seat belt, and using a mobile phone while driving.

“Of concern is the number of people arrested so far this year for driving under the influence of an intoxicant, either alcohol or drugs,” Mr Cleary said.

“Notwithstanding the recent Covid-19 restrictions with reduced traffic on our roads and the closure of licensed premises, we have still seen 1,153 people detected for driving under the influence of an intoxicant, since March 27.

“In addition, Roads Policing members are still detecting motorists driving in excess of the speed limits, not wearing seat belts and driving while using mobile phones.”

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Transport Minister Shane Ross said he is ‘alarmed’ at the increase in road deaths (Brian Lawless/PA)

Transport Minister Shane Ross said he is ‘alarmed’ at the increase in road deaths (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA

Transport Minister Shane Ross said he is ‘alarmed’ at the increase in road deaths (Brian Lawless/PA)

Transport Minister Shane Ross said he is “greatly alarmed” at the increase in road deaths.

“Road safety is a public health issue and the way we all behave on the road determines whether people live, suffer injury or die,” he said.

“I am appealing to all road users to please take a closer look at how you behave on the road and to take greater responsibility and practise good road safety habits.

“This means drivers being alert to danger and slowing down, and pedestrians walking on the right-hand side of the road towards oncoming traffic if there are no footpaths.”

Michael Rowland, RSA director of road safety, driver education and research, said that, with good weather forecast this weekend, the roads are going to be busy.

“As has been the pattern throughout the current health crisis, many people will be out walking, jogging and cycling,” he said.

“The lifting of some restrictions in phase one of the Government’s road map also means that more people will be driving, for example to garden centres and other locations where outdoor sports have resumed.”

PA