Garda Christmas crackdown under way in capital

GARDAÍ have announced a Christmas crackdown on motorists abusing the rules of the road.

Operation Freeflow, which aims to minimise traffic disruption in the capital in the run-up to Christmas, got under way last Sunday and will run until Christmas Eve.

This year’s campaign will also factor in the opening of the Luas red line extension to the O2 venue, as well as the opening of a new pedestrian and traffic bridge at Macken Street and the upgrading of the Quality Bus Corridor on the N3.

Aidan Reid, chief superintendent of the Dublin Regional Traffic Division, said anyone breaking the rules of the road will face breath-testing, although an amount of discretion would be used.

The breath-testing of all motorists who break the rules of the road was piloted last Christmas and Chief Supt Reid denied it would be time-consuming, stating all gardaí on traffic duty would have the equipment. Any motorist finding themselves in a yellow box junction is also likely to be fined for the offence, he said.

Promoting the message that Dublin city is open for business, and with shops keen to maximise sales ahead of Christmas, Dublin City Council and trade associations have teamed up with gardaí to ensure Operation Freeflow allows as many people as possible to gain easy access to the city centre.

This will mean additional student gardaí being deployed at traffic blackspots and critical junctions from Monday to Friday between 7am and 8pm, with other gardaí deployed around shopping centres, including those on the fringes of the city, from Wednesday to Saturday between noon and 8pm.

The Garda effort will be bolstered by 48 Traffic Corps motorcycle patrols, the Garda Air Support Unit, 10 marked patrol vehicles, motorway marked jeeps, 12 pedal cycle units and the Garda Mounted Unit. Also, an additional 12 uniformed gardaí will be out at night on public order duty from December 17 to boost public confidence in using public transport.

Pedestrians, pedal and motorcyclists comprise 71% of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.

A study by the Garda Analysis Service has pinpointed 28 stretches of road identified with significant ‘collision clusters’, including Tallaght, Blanchardstown and Finglas.

There have been 27 road- related fatalities in the greater Dublin area so far this year out of the national total of 220. The majority, at 12, were pedestrians, but the overall figure in Dublin is down from 33 deaths to this point last year.

Dublin has seen a 9% average reduction in year-on- year road fatalities, the best reduction rate amongst EU capital cities.

* www.freeflow.ie


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