Gardaí launch National 'Slow Down Day'

Offaly motorists urged to show their support

Offaly Express Reporter

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Gardaí launch National 'Slow Down Day'

Gardaí launch National 'Slow Down Day'

An Garda Síochána will conduct a national speed enforcement operation "Slow Down”, supported by the Road Safety Authority and other stakeholders, for a 24 hour period

The period begins at 7am on Friday, October 21 to 7am on Saturday, October 22. The objective is to reduce the number of speed related collisions, save lives and reduce injuries on our roads.  The aim of "Slow Down” is to remind drivers of the dangers of speeding, increase compliance with speed limits and act as a deterrent to driving at excessive or inappropriate speed.

Although 2015 saw a very welcome reduction in road deaths, resulting in 162 road deaths, the joint lowest on record, there has been a marked increase in road deaths in 2016. Excessive and inappropriate speed is a major contributory factor in road traffic collisions, further confirmed by the recent RSA report on fatal collisions between 2008 and 2012 which found that excessive speed was a contributory factor in one third of all fatal collisions during that time. 

The higher the speed, the greater the likelihood is of a collision happening and the more severe the outcome of that collision. As a general rule a 1% reduction in average speed will bring about a 4% reduction in fatal collisions, and this is why reducing motorists’ speed is essential to improving road safety.

The operation will consist of high visibility speed enforcement activities to include all 1,031 speed enforcement zones, as well as the delivery of a road safety message through the use of national, local and social media.  All primary schools have been notified of a competition to win a visit by the Garda band by creating their own road safety poster, poem or song. In addition, Garda personnel will man display stands in key venues to provide road safety advice and distribute road safety leaflets.
 
Government Departments, Local Authorities, Public and private sector fleet operators have been invited to participate in the initiative by circulating employees with the key message to 'Slow Down' and, whether driving for business or private purposes, to always drive within the speed limit and at a speed appropriate to the prevailing conditions. 

Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid, Garda National Traffic Bureau said, "There has been a significant increase in road deaths this year compared to 2015, which was the joint safest on record. Excessive or inappropriate speed is a major contributory factor in road crashes. This is not just a catch phrase, this is a stark fact, proven by the analysis of four years of fatal collision reports. The higher the speed, the greater the risk and the greater the injury if there is a collision. Please recognise this fact and protect not only yourself, but all other road users sharing the road with you.”

Chief Superintendent Reid continued, "Road safety is not just a job for the Gardaí or the Road Safety Authority, it is everyone’s responsibility to act and be safe on our roads. It is every road user’s right to be safe and slowing down reduces risk. Please play your part and reduce your speed, not just on Slow Down day, but every day. Every primary school has been invited to take part, by creating a road safety poster, song or poem – with the winning entry’s school getting a unique visit from the Garda band. So, with the help of even our youngest road users, the message is, slow down to save lives.”

The aim of the Slow Down initiative is to remind all drivers of the dangers of speeding, to comply with speed limits and to deter driving at excessive speeds.

All road users are invited to participate by reducing speed and by demonstrating their support giving the thumbs up for Slow Down Day.  People are invited to post photos to @gardatraffic and An Garda Síochána’s Facebook page or email to slowdownday@garda.ie

The key message to "Slow Down” and, whether driving for business or private purposes, to always drive within the speed limit and at a speed appropriate to the prevailing conditions.

Schoolchildren across the country are being asked to take part in a new Garda public awareness campaign to reduce speeding on our roads.

As part of the campaign, children are being asked to:

- submit suggestions to name the newest Garda member (see here) 

- create a poster, song or poem highlighting the dangers of speeding. 

Entries can be submitted to slowdownday@garda.ie, closing date is October 31.

The pupil with the best entry wins a unique visit from the Garda Band to their school. Entries will be featured on Garda social media platforms - @gardatraffic and An Garda Síochána’s Facebook page.