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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Road Safety

Concern over speeding drivers and pedestrian deaths during Covid-19 restrictions

Six pedestrians have been killed on Irish roads since the schools were closed in the middle of March.

AUTHORITIES ARE CONCERNED at the number of pedestrians killed on Irish roads since Covid-19 restrictions were put in place.

Today Gardaí and the Road Safety Authority said they are also worried about the number of motorists that are speeding.

Six pedestrians have died since the schools were closed in the middle of March. Up to 29 April this year 16 pedestrians were killed, compared to eight up to the same period last year.

The RSA said with the reduction in traffic volumes, people may have been expecting a significant reduction in road deaths during this period but that has not been the case.

Since schools were closed on Friday 13 March 2020 and up to 29 April 2020, there have been 17 road traffic fatalities. This compares to 18 fatalities over the same period last year.

Authorities said some drivers “are speeding through streets with 50km/h limits at what can only be described as motorway speeds”. One driver was recently arrested after travelling 202km/h on the M1 motorway.

Pedestrians have been advised to always assume they will encounter traffic on the road, regardless of the current restrictions on travel.

“Pedestrians are being reminded of the Rules of the Road when out walking. This includes using a footpath where one is provided. Where there is no footpath you must walk as near as possible to the right-hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic. Pedestrians should ensure they are visible to other users, cyclists and vehicles, especially when walking in the early morning and late evening.”

There will be an increased number of high visibility garda checkpoints over the coming days and over the bank holiday weekend.

Chief Superintendent, Paul Cleary said gardaí remain concerned about the increase in detection of drivers under the influence and warned motorists that there is now a greater risk of detection and prosecution, with more gardaí out on the roads.

“Despite the reduced amount of traffic on our roads at this time, we still have concerns for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, and we would appeal to motorists to reduce their speed,” he said.

“Speed is a factor in up to one third of road fatalities and since 28 March 2020, there have been 8,226 motorists detected driving in excess of the speed limit, a decrease of 38% on the same period last year.”

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