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Awareness campaign on motorway safety launched

Over 100 people killed or seriously injured on motorways since 2005

RSA Motorway Booklet (2MB PDF)

Since 2005, over 100 people have been killed or seriously injured as a result of collisions on Ireland’s motorway network. Of these, eight people died and 14 were seriously injured in 2010, which is the worst year since 2007 when 26 people were killed or seriously injured. Worryingly 6 people have died in motorway collisions to date in 2011*.

These figures were revealed today Monday 11th April 2011 at the launch of a new awareness campaign to highlight safety on Motorways by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), An Garda Síochána, National Roads Authority and the Automobile Association, at the Lighthouse Cinema, Dublin.

Central to the campaign is a new 40 second TV advert, which has been produced by the RSA to raise awareness of the rules of the road and important safety issues on Motorways.

Of particular concern to all the agencies involved in the launch is the number of pedestrians who were killed on motorways in 2010. Tragically, four people lost their lives while walking on motorways, the highest number in the five year period from 2005 to 2010. The public was reminded at the launch never to walk on a motorway, no matter what the reason or urgency.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Noel Brett, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said “The message is clear: never ever walk on a motorway. Pedestrians are at a massive risk on a motorway – you’re are taking your life in your hands and putting other road users in danger too. Likewise, drivers who stop on a motorway can cause collisions involving their own car and potentially many others. It’s unsafe and it’s an offence. We are working closely with our partners such as An Garda Síochána, the National Roads Authority and the Automobile Association to ensure that all road users in Ireland respect the motorway network and take responsibility for their actions, their lives and the lives of all road users.”

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Dr Leo Varadkar, said “This is an important campaign to save lives and prevent injuries on our roads. The RSA, An Garda Síochána, the National Roads Authority and Automobile Association have joined forces to educate road users of the risks associated with using motorways. It is a major concern that so many people were killed or seriously injured last year as a result of road collisions on motorways. We’re asking everyone today to please use motorways safely and respect the motorway network. Doing so could save your life and the lives of other road users.”

Chief Superintendent Gabriel McIntyre, Garda National Traffic Bureau, said ”An Garda Síochána is committed to reducing the number of deaths and serious injury collisions on Irish roads, including on our motorway network. We have seen all too frequently the carnage that results from reckless and dangerous driving. Families, friends, colleagues and neighbours have suffered grief and anguish and the survivors of these collisions face their own personal battle as they struggle with the effects of their injuries on their lives and the lives of those around them. All road users should be conscious of the dangers posed by motorways and take heed of the advice, in particular – motorways are not for pedestrians and drivers should never stop on a motorway.”

Mr. Harry Cullen, Senior Project Manager Road Safety, National Roads Authority, said, “Ireland’s national road network has grown to 5,515 kms. This includes 1,187 kms of motorway network. Ireland now has a motorway network which connects all our major urban centres. We are committed to ensuring that all road users use them in the correct way. A safe and modern motorway network provides benefits to all road users, to businesses and to society as a whole. We are committed to working with the RSA to ensure that this message is clearly communicated to all road users.”

“Motorways and the new high grade dual carriageways are extremely safe roads. Statistically, they are the safest roads that we have. But that does not mean there is no danger” says Conor Faughnan, Director of Policy, AA Ireland. The AA attends an average of 60 breakdowns on motorways every week – an increase of 63% in the last year. This means ever greater exposure to danger for drivers and their passengers.

“The new roads are fantastic but Motorways have specific safety rules for very good reasons. Traffic moves at high speed and when collisions occur they can be catastrophic. The hard shoulder for example is an extremely dangerous place to be, yet some drivers use it almost casually. In darkness or in foggy conditions the danger is magnified, and drivers need to be aware of it” said Mr. Faughnan.

The maximum speed limit on a motorway is 120km per hour, unless there are signs stating another speed limit (e.g. warning signals to highlight road works); or you are driving a vehicle that is subject to a lower limit, such as a bus or truck.

The RSA reminds drivers that your total stopping distance at 120km per hour is 107.5 metres in dry conditions. This is equivalent to the length of a football pitch.

Drivers should also ensure they leave enough room between their car and the vehicle in front to allow for a safe stop –in dry conditions you should make sure that you are at least two seconds behind and this increases to four seconds in wet conditions.

Mr. Noel Brett added: “High speeds mean that just a moment’s lapse of concentration could have serious consequences, so please don’t drive if you’re tired and plan your breaks before you set out on a journey. Ireland’s motorway network is a fantastic asset but we need to use it safely at all times. ”

The new advertising campaign focuses on the key motorway issues of Lane Merging, Lane Discipline on 3 Lane Motorways, Overtaking and a Breakdown. It also reminds the public never to walk on a motorway and never to stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway. It will be supported by an information leaflet, which will be distributed to, libraries, motor tax offices, Garda stations and driving test centres. The information leaflet provides advice on safe driving on motorways, including advice on preparation for journeys, correct signalling and lane use and the correct procedure when joining and leaving the motorway.

The Road Safety Authority has incorporated closed captioned titles for the hard of hearing in this advertisement. These are available to viewers on the teletext 888 service. This is the first time that the RSA has incorporated the additional function and it plans to make it available in all future TV commercials.

AA Ireland Limited trading as AA Insurance is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.