Pos­i­tives to be gleaned from yearly road sta­tis­tics

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - JOINT POLICING COMMITTEE -

GARDAÍ said there were a num­ber of pos­i­tives to take from road safety sta­tis­tics for the year to date, but warned against com­pla­cency head­ing into the dark win­ter months.

Sgt Michael Flem­ing told the Com­mit­tee there were two fa­tal traf­fic col­li­sions so far this year, rep­re­sent­ing a 50 per cent de­crease from the same pe­riod last year. But there have been 27 col­li­sions caus­ing se­ri­ous in­juries – an in­crease of 50 per cent – fur­ther ev­i­dence that road users mustn’t be­come com­pla­cent.

“Two fa­tal col­li­sions is two too many – but we’re down by 50 per cent, so that’s a pos­i­tive from a road polic­ing point of view,” he said.

“But we were in a sim­i­lar position go­ing into the fi­nal quar­ter of 2017, and then we ex­pe­ri­enced four fur­ther fa­tal col­li­sions. The mes­sage we’re try­ing to get across to road users, there­fore, is not to be­come com­pla­cent,” he added.

He pointed out that no vul­ner­a­ble road users have been killed in Kerry yet this year, a statis­tic which en­cour­ages him, par­tic­u­larly as this an area that has been of great con­cern to the JPC sub­com­mit­tee on road safety.

“But again, we can’t be­come com­pla­cent,” Sgt Flem­ing said. “Every sta­tion has high-vis jack­ets and other road gear avail­able, and items are avail­able free from the RSA.”

There has also been a 4.5 per cent de­crease in de­tec­tions of driv­ing while un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs and/or al­co­hol. With seven new mem­bers al­lo­cated to the road polic­ing unit last Fe­bru­ary, Sgt Flem­ing is hope­ful that this en­force­ment has made a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence. He said the unit is par­tic­u­larly fo­cused on crack­ing down on speed; mis­use of safety belts; use of mo­bile phones while driv­ing; and drink-driv­ing.

“The Kerry Garda Di­vi­sion is af­ter get­ting an ad­di­tional mo­bile drug-test­ing unit,” he added, ex­plain­ing that Gardaí in­tend to use this around the county and to train mem­bers, tar­get­ing busy pe­ri­ods and fes­ti­vals around the county.

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