National Slow Down Day has 'increased relevance this year'

National Slow Down Day is from 7am tomorrow, Monday September 4, to 7am on Tuesday September 5.

During those 24 hours, An Garda Síochána will conduct a national speed enforcement operation, ‘Slow Down’, supported by the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

The garda press office has released these figures to reinforce why the National Slow Down Day is particularly important this time.

There have been 127 deaths on Irish roads, to date in 2023 – that is 23 more than the same period of 2022 and 38 more than the same period of 2019.

One in three (43) of all deaths (to date in 2023) on Irish roads were people younger than 25.

Approximately one in four (29) of all deaths (to date in 2023) on Irish roads were pedestrians.

Approximately one in four (30) of all deaths (to date in 2023) on Irish roads were passengers in vehicles.

One in five (25) of all deaths (to date in 2023) were in the month of August.

An Garda Síochána carry out a number of high profile ‘Slow Down’ days each year, in support of daily speed enforcement operations.

The aim is to remind drivers of the dangers of speeding, to increase compliance with speed limits and act as a deterrent to driving at excessive or inappropriate speed.

Operation ‘Slow Down’ on Monday September 4 was picked to coincide with the full return of all schools and the related increase in roads users, particularly vulnerable road users, pedestrians, pedal cyclists and specifically younger road users.

With the alarming increase in the number of road fatalities on Irish roads this year, and in recent months, Operation ‘Slow Down’ has taken on increased urgency and relevance.

An Garda Síochána are appealing to all drivers to support Operation ‘Slow Down’ this Monday, whether using their vehicles for personal journeys, commuting to work or driving for work. All drivers can play their part.

The World Health Organization (2017) estimated that a five per cent reduction in average speed could result in a 30 per cent reduction in fatal collisions, and therefore reducing every motorists’ speed is essential to improving safety on the roads.

An Garda Síochána and Go-Safe have detected some 105,000 drivers (to end August 2023) driving in excess of the posted speed limit.

Inappropriate speed, driving within the speed limit but at a speed inappropriate for the prevailing traffic, road, weather and vehicle conditions, is also a significant factor in road traffic collisions.

The greater the speed, even within posted speed limits, the greater the likelihood of a collision happening and the more severe the outcome for those involved in a road traffic collision.

A pedestrian or cyclist involved in a road traffic collision with a vehicle travelling at 50kmh has a 50 per cent chance of living; a pedestrian or cyclist involved in a road traffic collision with a vehicle travelling at 60kmh has only a 10 per cent chance of living.

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement, said: “The trauma on our roads so far in 2023 is, and will have, lasting effects on families and communities. An Garda Síochána continue to carry out speed enforcement across our roads. Every driver has a personal responsibility to drive within the posted speed limit, and to drive at a speed appropriate to the conditions.

“Speeding is reckless, not just to the motorists themselves and their passengers, but to all road users, especially vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists. This is not just about speeding enforcement detections. It’s about saving lives.

“I’m appealing to all road users to support us in our efforts to keep everybody safe on our roads. Please slow down, check your speed, drive safely, not only on National Slow Down Day, but every day.”

Sam Waide, CEO, Road Safety Authority, said: “We have a speed epidemic in Ireland. The RSA regularly commission observational studies where the actual real-life behaviours of drivers at the roadside are logged. In 2021, more than three quarters (77 per cent) of drivers observed on 50kmh roads were exceeding the speed limit. In addition, 29 per cent (almost one in three) of drivers observed on 100kmh roads exceeding the speed limit.

“This has to change. We must tackle the attitude that speeding is safe and acceptable. Speeding increases both the likelihood of a road traffic collision occurring, and the severity of injury sustained, should a collision occur.

“Speed has a huge impact on whether a vulnerable road user is killed or seriously injured when a collision occurs. We simply have to ask every single driver to play their part in saving lives, routinely slowing down for every single trip, every single day. National Slow Down Day is the day for us all to start.”