Cullen launches Summer Road Safety Campaign
"Summertime is high risk: statistically, July is the most dangerous to be on Irish Roads"
Martin Cullen, T.D., Minister for Transport today (Tuesday, 30th May 2006) appealed to motorists to drive with extra care over the coming months as he launched the Summer Road Safety "Arrive Alive" campaign. "I urge all those who use our roads this Summer to exercise extra caution at this time of year when extra journeys will be made by car and other vehicles."
Untimely death as a result of a road collision is always tragic. So far this year 166 people have lost their lives on our roads. The need for care when driving is a constant reality. Nearly nine out of every ten road collisions are a direct result of the behaviour of road users. In many instances that behaviour is affected by the fact that drivers consume alcohol.
The Minister commended all involved in this year's intensive anti-drink driving campaign that is being mounted to coincide with the Summer campaign. "Summertime is one of the most dangerous times on our roads with an average of over 100 people losing their lives during the three months of June, July and August. July is statistically the worst month of the year for road fatalities with an average monthly fatality rate of 39. Almost four out of every ten deaths during the Summer occur in July. Drink driving continues to be a major contributory factor to road fatalities. Last year, 4,140 people were convicted of drink driving offences, an increase of 30% on 2004. I am pleased to tell you that the Government approved the publication of the Road Traffic Bill 2006 this morning, which, among a range of reforms, provides for mandatory roadside breath testing. I will be outlining the full details of the Bill in the coming days.
Minister Cullen acknowledged the efforts made by the Gardai and individuals in making our roads safer. He said: "The increased levels of enforcement which the Gardai have put in place, along with advertising campaigns such as those carried out by the Road Safety Authority will strengthen the fight against drink driving. Ultimately however, it is a matter for individual road users to act responsibly on our roads and to take responsible decisions. Many road users are doing this; the most recent research findings show that people's attitudes towards the acceptability of drinking and driving is changing. The fact that 49% of people now say that any amount of alcohol will affect one's driving compared with 30% six years ago shows that people are realising the lethal potential of drinking and driving.
"Today, as we face into Summer holiday time, I am making a particular appeal to all drivers not to drive after you have consumed alcohol. Even one alcoholic drink should be avoided if you are going to drive. As you hear "just the one", bear in mind that just one alcoholic drink will impair your driving ability and judgement with potentially tragic consequences", the Minister concluded.
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