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Drivers warned to be careful on the roads this Easter weekend

50 people have lost their lives on Irish roads to date – compared to 29 up to the same date last year.

ROAD USERS ARE being urged to exercise caution during the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, with the Gardaí and RSA warning that Ireland’s road deaths for the year are on course to double compared to last year.

There is a trend of more road crashes taking place on long weekends, possibly because there are more cars on the road.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are issuing an urgent road safety appeal to all road users to slow down, wear seatbelts, not to drive when impaired, or distracted – particularly by illegally using your phone while driving – or when tired.

This Easter Bank Holiday Weekend drivers are being reminded that the RSA and participating Applegreen service stations are offering free cups of coffee to drivers to help combat driver fatigue – from 2-8pm today and on Easter Monday.

The safety appeal has been made after what the RSA called an “extremely worrying” increase in road deaths so far in 2022: provisional figures show that 50 people have lost their lives on Irish roads to date this year – compared to 29 up to the same date last year.

“This is 21 more unnecessary deaths and heartache for families and friends and represents an almost doubling of last year’s figure,” the RSA said.

The number of arrests for drug driving up to 31 March 2022 is 768. This will also be a focus for Gardaí this weekend.

Analysis by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety shows that cannabis and cocaine remain the most detected drugs in drivers on Irish roads. In 2021, 57% of specimens tested for drugs contained cannabis, 31% contained cocaine and 14% contained benzodiazepines.

Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, said: 

Four people died and eight were seriously injured over the Easter bank holiday last year.

“That means as drivers, we have a responsibility to slow down, to never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, never to use our phones or drive while tired, and always to ensure that everyone in our vehicle wears their seatbelt.”

Sam Waide, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority, said if the current trend of increases in road fatalities continues, “we could end up losing 180 lives this year”.

Ireland is in danger of having the highest number of road fatalities in a decade. If we all act now and improve our behaviour on the road, collectively we can avoid this preventable loss of life. 

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman said that they are expecting “large numbers” to be travelling on our roads this Easter.

“Motorists should plan their journey and pay attention to other road users. We want everyone to stay safe and enjoy the holiday period. Remember that every decision you make on the road counts.”

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