The numbers of minor accidents on the roads of Carlow and Kilkenny has gone up by 50% this year.
Local Gardai say they are very concerned by this increase in crashes even though some haven’t resulted in serious injuries.
Five people have died on the roads locally so far this year which is equal to the total for the same time last year even though there was much less traffic on the roads during the lockdown.
The Local Roads policing unit yesterday made a big push for safety with major checkpoints set up in various locations around Johnstown and Paulstown.
Divisional Roads Policing Inspector Anthony Farrell says hundreds of people have been affected even though the incidents are described as minor noting “What is alarming in county Kilkenny this year is that there’s been just over 320 material damage accidents & that’s increased by a factor of 50% and that’s a cause of serious concern for us and it’s alarming and these are from small little fender-benders to more serious from the prospective of trying to get a vehicle repaired in terms of cost & that significant impact on households in challenging times”.
Inspector Farrell also says they don’t know why there’s been such an increase pointing out “It’s very difficult to identify why a particular stat is going in a particular direction & trying to diagnose it can be the biggest challenge we face but certainly in terms of any accident on the road up as far as fatal accidents it is concerning & we’re doing everything we can in terms of engagement, in terms of education, in terms of what we’re doing here today with enforcement and also we’re working very closely with our local authority in Kilkenny to look at engineering solutions where some of these collisions might be caused not so much by driver error, which is unfortunately in the vast majority of cases but it could be a particular road layout, the wrong surface on the road, there could be an issue for example with hedges”.
He adds the increase can’t be put down to any one factor so we all have to take personal responsibility when we’re driving specially if we’re driving more now after lockdown saying “Particularly people had been in lockdown for so long and maybe not driving in their cars & just maybe a little bit rusty with their driving and that seems very basic or a basic assessment of it but from going to these accidents and from talking to gardai on the ground who are investigating these accidents they’re caused by very simple mistakes, a lack of concentration, maybe not looking at the speed limit or maybe taking or making that phone call when you shouldn’t, maybe just pull in, and tiredness is another factor, I mean there’s lots of different variables at stake we’re trying to manage them all, we’re doing our best but really responsibility starts with individuals”.
Motorists are also being warned to pay more attention to their driving and to the roadworthiness of their cars.
The day of action under Operation Impact saw nine checkpoints in the Johnstown & Paulstown areas with five vehicles seized, two from unaccompanied drivers, one for no insurance and two where the Tax had expired for more than two months. 22 Fixed Charge Notice’s were issued for offences committed by Learner Permit holders, including seven for breach of the Speed Limits, two for holding a mobile phone while driving and others for no tax and bald tyres.
Gardaí also detected road transport offences on Heavy Goods Vehicles with the Road Safety Authority issuing 10 notices to bus/HGV drivers and owners for breaches of the Road Transport Act – they also detained one HGV, which was “dangerous and defective”, until that vehicle was repaired at the scene.
Sgt Gary Gordon says “Overall this was a very successful operation, from a Road Safety point of view and in deterring criminals the use of the road network. Further days of action are being planned for the coming months, in the Kilkenny Carlow Garda area”.