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October Bank Holiday 2012 - Traffic

As we head into the October bank holiday weekend, we must remind ourselves that tragically 141* people have already lost their lives on Irish Roads.

Although this represents 5 fewer deaths than this period last year, the stark fact is that between now and the end of the year there will be more collisions involving more loss of life. Over the past few days in particular we have seen tragic examples of what can happen on our roads. In saying that, it is possible to take simple steps to make it safer for all road users.


It is obvious to all that we have moved into the colder, wetter and darker weather so we must remind all road users to take extra care whilst driving, cycling, riding and walking on our roads. Vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists must make themselves as visible as possible when on unlit or poorly lit roads. The wearing of high visibility clothing etc increases the chances of being seen by up to 325%. This could be vital for your safety, in poor visibility. The months of October, November and December are particularly high risk with 15, 18 and 18 deaths respectively in 2011.


All motorists should now be thinking "winter ready" and making preparations to make their vehicle safe for the colder weather ahead. Tyres, servicing, lights, wipers, washer fluid etc should all be checked. Most importantly, if a windscreen is iced over every driver must wait until it has cleared completely not only on the outside, but also clear from condensation on the inside before setting out on their journey.


We also ask that every vehicle user take conditions into account when gauging their speed, and drive at the appropriate safe speed for every journey.


A particular focus this weekend and going forward is the learner permit holder. Four operations have now been held this year targeting learner permit holders and their legal obligations to have a fully qualified driver with them at all times, plus the display of L plates. Although the compliance rate has increased since the first operation in March, it remains at an unacceptably high level, and this will continue to be addressed in future operations.


Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar TD said: ‘This weekend, as with every bank holiday, there is a greater risk of deaths and serious injuries on our roads. With the clocks going back this weekend, there will also be fewer hours of daylight. This makes it even more important to be visible on the roads. If we could all learn one thing from the tragedy of road collisions, it would be how quickly and easily lives can be shattered. So I am asking everyone: young, old, cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and drivers, to be extra careful on the roads this weekend’.


Assistant Commissioner Gerard Phillips said today:-


"Every road user must have already noticed the change in weather. It is colder, wetter and certainly darker for longer. Our message is to each and every road user to take all necessary steps to protect themselves no matter how they use the roads. Vehicle users need to check their vehicles, and make sure they are "winter ready". Every driver should also be adjusting their speed to drive at an appropriate safe speed for all the conditions around them. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists need to see and be seen. Hi visibility clothing is not expensive, and it makes a massive difference in the ability of others to see you early on a dark or poorly lit road."


Assistant Commissioner Phillips continued:-


"We have run 4 separate operations targeting our learner permit holders. Since these started in March we have seen an increase in compliance with regards to being accompanied by a fully qualified driver and displaying L plates. For that we thank the public. For those though that continue to think that they can drive without adhering to these legally required conditions, we strongly advise you to think again. These requirements are there for your and every road user’s protection and there will be a continued focus on ensuring our learner driver’s do it right. The message is simple; if you are a learner permit holder, remember you are learning to drive. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know it all!"


Commenting on ‘Operation Learner Driver’, Mr. Noel Brett, CEO, Road Safety Authority welcomed the Garda enforcement of the rules of the road relating to learner drivers, "A learner permit is just that, a permit, it is not a driving licence. A Learner Permit places restrictions on a learner driver because they are inexperienced and therefore vulnerable road users. The restrictions include, that they be accompanied by a driver who has held their full licence for more than two years and that ‘L’ plates are displayed at all times to alert other drivers to the presence of a learner driver."


"Waiting times for a driving test or access to quality tuition are no longer excuses for driving long term or breaching the terms of the Learner Permit. There are almost 2,000 Approved Driving Instructors (ADI) nationwide, registered with the RSA, who are able to provide a high standard of tuition to candidates. Waiting times for the driving test have been cut dramatically and are below a ten week national average and in some places this waiting time is lower. If someone needs an urgent driving test, for example to secure a job, we can prioritise that candidate for a test."


"There is also an issue of parental responsibility involved here and I would appeal directly to the parents of young learner drivers to stop turning a blind eye to what’s going on and do not allow their son or daughter access to a vehicle, unless they are accompanied and have ‘L’ plates displayed. Finally I would urge everyone to take extra care when using the roads over the bank holiday weekend. Thanks to our changed behaviour on the roads over the last number of years, it is possible to achieve a weekend with no fatalities, and what an achievement that would be." Said Mr. Brett


*figure correct as of 25th October 2012.

Operation Learner Driver 1st - 2nd  March 2012

Region

No of L drivers

Unaccompanied

No L Plates

Dublin Region

197

85

93

Eastern Region

226

125

97

Northern Region

137

76

46

South Eastern Region

258

94

55

Southern Region

204

98

66

Western Region

161

56

37

TOTAL

1183

534 (45%)

394 (33%)

 

Operation Learner Driver 19th April 2012

Region

No of L drivers

Unaccompanied

No L Plates

Dublin Region

96

63

52

Eastern Region

255

114

78

Northern Region

137

61

51

South Eastern Region

170

53

24

Southern Region

274

92

47

Western Region

85

29

14

TOTAL

1017

412 (41%)

266 (26%)

                                       Operation Learner Driver 5th July 2012

Region

No of L drivers

Unaccompanied

No L Plates

Dublin Region

156

73

53

Eastern Region

206

72

52

Northern Region

124

12

29

South Eastern Region

86

36

24

Southern Region

554

97

61

Western Region

120

32

31

TOTAL

1246

322 (26%)

250 (20%)

Operation Learner Driver 11th October 2012

Region

No of L drivers

Unaccompanied

No L Plates

Dublin Region

157

69

38

Eastern Region

349

108

55

Northern Region

75

23

33

South Eastern Region

79

24

15

Southern Region

204

81

42

Western Region

113

37

43

TOTAL

977

342 (35%)

226 (23%)

 

 

 

Total for 4 operations

No of L drivers

Unaccompanied

No L Plates

4,423

4,423

1,610 (36%)

1,136 (26%)

                                             October Bank Holiday Weekend (4 days Fri – Mon)

Figures are based on operational data and are provisional and subject to change.

2007 – Fri 26th Oct – Mon 29th Oct

2008 – Fri 24th Oct – Mon 27th Oct

2009 – Fri 23rd Oct – Mon 26th Oct

2010 – Fri 22nd Oct – Mon 25th Oct

2011 – Fri 28th Oct – Mon 31st Oct

 

Type

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

5 year Total

Fatalities

6

3

5

5

3

22

Fatal Collisions

6

3

4

4

3

20

Serious Injuries

9

13

5

10

13

50

Serious Injury Collisions

7

8

4

6

6

31