Positives to be gleaned from yearly road statistics
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.