A spike in national road deaths in the last two months have prompted a group of emergency services to urge road users to stay safe and
The Road Safety Authority, the Gardaí and the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine are urging road users to answer Ireland’s call and stay safe on the roads.
The call has been made as healthcare professionals are worried about the additional pressure road crashes will place on first-responders and emergency department staff who need to focus on dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic.
To date in 2020, 47 people have died on Irish roads, an increase of 24 per cent on the same period last year. Over the six days from 17 March to 22 March, nine people were killed on Irish roads.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross said the current healthcare crisis required all the resources of government, the health service and first-responders.
“We cannot afford to put any more pressure on our hospitals and healthcare professionals at this time. Just as it is our national duty to tackle the pandemic, it is also our national duty to stay safe, keep others safe on the roads and not add to the workload of our health care system. Don’t be selfish. Don’t drink or take drugs and drive,” he said.
“Keep within the speed limits, wear a seat belt and don’t even think of using your phone while driving.”
Liz O Donnell, Chairperson, Road Safety Authority said, “This is not a time for making unnecessary journeys, it is a time for taking extra care in everything we do. I understand that people need to exercise by going for a walk or cycle, but not only do we need to do it responsibly taking the government’s health advice into account, we need to do it safely
“Drivers in particular need to slow down, put away your mobile phone and look out for vulnerable road users,” she said.
Dr. Fergal Hickey of the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine said he and his colleagues working in emergency medicine were “alarmed at the level of irresponsible road user behaviour” witnessed recently.
“If the current trends in road collisions continues it will place extra demands on our healthcare professionals. I’m asking people to have consideration for our emergency services by having greater respect for each other on the road.”
Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner Dave Sheehan, Roads Policing Unit, said An Garda Síochána has been building up its manpower and resources to respond to the unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid19 health crisis.
“I want to echo my colleagues on the front line in our health services and appeal to all road users to take greater responsibility when using the roads, now and in the future. By doing so we can save lives and assist in the current public national health effort,” he said.