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Road Safety

Improving road safety and significantly reducing the incidence of fatal and serious injury on Irish roads is the main responsibility of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau (GNRPB).

Traffic check point 1

Operational Traffic Corps Units based in each Garda division enforce the policies developed by GNRPB. The two key factors in policy formulation are prioritised enforcement (almost entirely a Garda function) and traffic management (shared responsibility along with other agencies).

Road Safety landing page top right

The Garda Traffic Corps

The Garda Traffic Corps is dedicated to the enforcement of road traffic legislation and also to assisting the free flow of traffic.

The first Traffic Corps Unit was established in Dublin in 1953 and was extended nationwide in 1973. The current strength stands at 640 Garda members as of 31st October 2017.

Of all the road traffic collisions that happen throughout the country every year, over 90% can be attributed to one single factor, the “human factor”. Mistakes that we ourselves make as road users, are the reason that so many people are killed and injured on our roads. Less than 10% of all road crashes can solely be attributed to external factors such as road defects, weather condition, vehicle defects etc. A road user is defined as anyone who uses the road- be it driver, passenger, pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclists or pillion passenger.

Speed is a factor in one third of fatal collisions in Ireland.

A speed limit is not a target. It is simply the maximum speed you are legally entitled to drive at on a stretch of road. You must drive at a speed appropriate to road and weather conditions, volumes of traffic present and likelihood of hazards. These are all vital ingredients which drivers must factor in every time they drive. When drivers ignore these factors, even travelling below a particular speed limit, they could very easily find themselves in a potential crash scenario. A small reduction in your speed could have a massive effect on the outcome for you or others.

The maximum speed limits in Ireland (in kilometres per hour) are:

• 30kph Areas with vulnerable road users (pedestrians, Cyclists and motorcyclists)

• 50kph built up urban areas

• 60kph Major approaches or through routes in cities and towns

• 80kph Secondary or regional roads

• 100kph National primary routes

• 120kph Motorways

Slowing down can save lives.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs:

The drink driving limit in Ireland is 50mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, however for “specified drivers”, a lower limit of 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood applies. A “specified driver” includes learner drivers, novice drivers, professional and commercial drivers.

It is an offence to drive, attempt to drive or be in charge of a vehicle in Ireland if you don’t have proper control of the vehicle due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs. Remember it takes about 1 hour for each unit of alcohol to pass through the average person’s system. 1 unit = half a pint of beer, a small measure of spirits or a small glass of wine.

Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) has been a statutory offence in Ireland since the introduction of the Road Traffic Act 1961. The legal definition states that a person must not be impaired (though alcohol, drugs or any combination of both) while in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle. Since 13th April 2017, An Garda Síochána has the power to test the oral fluid of drivers for the presence of Cannabis, Cocaine, Opiates (e.g. Morphine) and Benzodiazepines (e.g. Valium) at the roadside or in a Garda station. This testing will be facilitated by a Drager 5000 drug tester device.

Belt Up Every Trip.

Approximately one fifth of all vehicular fatalities had no safety belt on at the time of the collision. The use of a safety belt is the most basic form of road safety. Every occupant of a vehicle is required by law to wear a safety belt. It’s the drivers’ responsibility to ensure that persons under 17 years of age wear their safety belt. Children must be carried in the appropriate child restraint. Seat belts save lives

Mobile Phones:

It is a fixed charge penalty offence to use a hand held mobile phone whilst driving. Be careful of using other electronic devices while driving – as any distraction that takes your attention from the road can be dangerous. Holding a mobile phone whilst driving is the second highest offence detected annually.

Fatigue:

Fatigue is believed to be a factor in as many as 1 in 5 of fatal collisions in Ireland. Don’t ignore the effects of fatigue. 

• If you feel tired take a break from driving – a nap of 15 to 20 mins can help;

• If planning a long drive get a good night’s sleep the night before; 

• Avoid alcohol or medicines that can cause drowsiness;

• Consider sharing the driving.

Road Safety Unit

The Road Safety Unit's overall aim is the reduction of road deaths and serious injuries and the improvement of road safety generally. The unit was established in 2001 and is based in the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau the community including:

  • Schools and colleges
  • Youth Clubs
  • Senior Citizens
  • Local organisations
  • Industry groupsTeddys2 sm

The unit’s presentation for secondary schools, It won’t happen to me, is included in the Transition Year syllabus. The unit also provides road safety information at major public exhibitions such as The Young Scientist Exhibition, Ideal Homes Exhibition, The National Ploughing Championships and a variety of car and motorcycle shows. 

Contact the Road Safety Unit at: Road Safety Unit, An Garda Síochána, Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8 D08 HN3X. You can email the unit at Road_safety@garda.ie

Crimecall

The team on the Crimecall Programme deals with road safety topics on each monthly episode. The unit welcomes suggestions regarding topics that should be covered or enquiries relating to Road Traffic legislation and Road Safety. The Unit can be contacted at the e-mail address below or through crimecall@garda.ie  

The bureau was established in 1997 to formulate policy and oversee traffic policing throughout the state. It is headed by Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn and is based at Garda Headquarters in the Phoenix Park.  

Video of a Mandatory Intoxicant Testing (MIT) checkpoint 

Some Traffic FAQ's are available here.

Useful road safety sites:

www.rsa.ie

Offences incurring penalty points