Road deaths and arrests increase despite Covid-19 lockdowns

From January 1 to December 31, 2020, 148 people were killed on Irish roads - an increase of eight on 2019’s figure
Road deaths and arrests increase despite Covid-19 lockdowns

Over the reporting period, gardaí say they carried out 12,858 breath tests at some 5,513 checkpoints around the country. File picture: Dan Linehan

Despite Covid-19 lockdowns, deaths on the country's roads increased last year, according to the latest garda figures.

From January 1 to December 31, 2020, 148 people were killed in crashes - an increase of eight on 2019’s figure.

The rise is in spite of the fact that for most of 2020 people were encouraged to stay off the roads and avoid unnecessary journeys.

Gardaí say that between December 4, 2020, and January 5, 2021, alone there were 10 deaths on the roads.

The figures are from statistics released as part of Gardaí’s Christmas and New Year Road Safety Campaign.

Arrests and penalties

Despite reduced traffic during certain periods over Christmas and New Year, 790 people were arrested for drink or drug-driving over the reporting period.

That compares to the 650 people who were arrested between November 29 and December 26, 2019 - the time frame of that year's Christmas Road Safety Campaign. 

From December 4, 2020, to January 5, 2021, gardaí say they caught 14,780 motorists for speeding.

Some 12,858 breath tests were carried out at 5,513 checkpoints put in place around the country.

There were 1,414 Fixed Charge Notices (FCNs) handed out - 1,096 for mobile phone usage and 314 for people not wearing seatbelts.

Gardaí say a key part of their campaign was ‘National Slow Down Day’ conducted on December 11 and 12.

On this day alone, 186,125 vehicles were monitored - 892 of which were found to be travelling higher than the applicable speed limit.

Commenting on the new figures, Assistant Garda Commissioner Paula Hilman appealed to all road users to remember the basics of road safety.

"The message is clear, never drive if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of both," she said. 

"We also ask that drivers increase their compliance with speed limits in order to lower speed-related collisions.  

"This will reduce injuries on our roads and save lives." 

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