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Road deaths up 10pc on last year despite months of lockdown

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Safety chiefs, including Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, issued a safety plea

Safety chiefs, including Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, issued a safety plea

Safety chiefs, including Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, issued a safety plea

Deaths on Irish roads are now 10pc higher than in 2019 - despite the three-month Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

Road safety chiefs warned that when the 70pc reduction in national traffic volumes between March and June are taken into account, Ireland is effectively facing a near 20pc hike in traffic fatalities so far this year.

GardaĆ­ issued a special August safety plea as roads were thronged as tens of thousands of families opted for 'staycations' because of the pandemic.

The plea came as 87 people have died on Irish roads so far this year.

The number is eight more than in 2019 - an alarming increase of 10pc.

What makes the increase more startling is the fact traffic volumes were slashed by 70pc during the national lockdown, with a resultant decrease in serious accidents.

Collisions

Of the 87 people who died on Irish roads this year, 34 were drivers, 20 were pedestrians, 18 were passengers, 11 were motorcyclists and four were pedal cyclists.

The Road Safety Authority has expressed particular concern over the number of pedestrians, motorcyclists and pedal cyclists dying in collisions.

RSA statistics revealed there has been an increase of almost 15pc in the total number of serious collisions this year compared to 2019.

Garda Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman - who is charged with roads policing - urged motorists to heed the safety advice.

"Any road death is one too many and we will continue to work together with our partners in road safety to reduce road deaths," she said.

Assistant Commissioner Hilman said it was obvious that, in some cases, motorists had blatantly ignored the rules of the road in respect of speed and the use of drink and drugs.

"The level of endangerment we encountered over the weekend is not acceptable.

"Despite our best efforts to proactively engage and educate drivers, too many are still taking chances and putting people's lives at risk."

In Tipperary, one motorist was found to be driving while under the influence of both cannabis and cocaine.

In Cavan and Monaghan, nine were arrested over the August bank holiday weekend for driving while intoxicated.

Safety

A motorist in Louth was stopped while driving at 203kmh - 83km above the speed limit.

"There is simply no place on our roads for people who do not comply with legislation," she warned.

"Every driver must be responsible, and not just think about their own safety, but the safety of their families and loved ones, and the safety of all road users."