Garda crackdown in south as road deaths rise

Motorists in the south have been warned of a Garda crackdown on the roads in the weeks ahead amid concerns about a rise in fatal road crashes.

Garda crackdown in south as road deaths rise

Deaths on roads in Cork, Kerry, and Limerick so far this year stand at 31, which is just eight behind the total for all of 2013.

Annual road deaths in the three counties were nearly halved between 2008 (63) and 2012 (33), but gardaí are worried that they are beginning to rise again.

The amount of deaths in Limerick has doubled to eight this year, for the comparable period in 2013.

To date, there have been 14 fatalities on Cork roads, compared to nine for the first eight months of last year.

Only Kerry is bucking the upward trend. Nine people have died on its roads this year, compared to 11 in the same period last year.

Superintendent Pat Lehane, who is in charge of the region’s traffic corps, said he was concerned about the rise in deaths and a noticeable shift in when they occur.

In recent years, Fridays have been the peak day for fatal road traffic accidents.

Gardaí believe this was primarily because people are hurrying home for the weekend.

“The peak time are now on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, between 12 noon and 4pm, and from 12 midnight to 2am. It’s an unusual trend and we can’t see any reason for it,” the senior garda said.

“We will be targeting our resources to these critical times.”

However, gardaí know the usual culprits of speeding, drinking-driving, using mobile phones behind the wheel, and not wearing a safety belt are still the primary factors for fatal crashes.

Coming into the winter, the gardaí are acutely conscious that the weather will lead to deteriorating road conditions and they want to emphasise the need for motorists to slow down.

Supt Lehane said that motorists should reduce their speed according to the conditions, especially if the roads become slippy due to fallen leaves and frost.

He said that while the number of people caught for drink-driving had reduced significantly in recent years, there were still motorists who had not heeded the warnings and were still getting caught.

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