Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Ms. Hildegarde Naughton is set to introduce regulations that will double the fixed charges relating to key road safety offences including speeding, phone use and non-wearing of seatbelts.
This will see the fine for speeding increase from €80 to €160 and the fine for using a mobile phone while driving or for not wearing a seatbelt will double to €120. Fines will be doubled for other offences that put the safety of vulnerable road users at risk.
The announcement was made at the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána’s mid-summer road safety appeal which urged road users to share the roads safely and for drivers to slow down as the peak summer holiday season gets into full swing.
The appeal took place at Atlantic Technological University (ATU) in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal and seeks to remind road users that they should expect higher traffic volumes, not just over the August Bank Holiday but throughout August, as tourists and holidaymakers take to the road during what is a high-risk period on the road.
The highest number of monthly fatalities in 10 years was recorded in August 2021 with an alarming total of 22 deaths. 2022 has already seen a 42% increase in fatalities compared to the same period in 2021. 94 people have been killed on the roads so far this year, an increase of 28 deaths.
Speaking at the launch of the Road Safety Appeal at ATU Donegal, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Ms. Hildegarde Naughton said: “I am gravely concerned about the high number of deaths on our roads this year. We need to act now to stem this increase. Accordingly, I intend to double the fines for key road traffic offences which are putting drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists at most risk of death on our roads. For example, the fine for speeding will soon increase from €80 to €160 and the fine for using a mobile phone while driving or for not wearing a seatbelt will double to €120. I will also be doubling fines for offences which put the safety of our children who are walking, cycling, or scooting to school at risk. Increasing fines for these offences will act as a stronger deterrent to those who break our lifesaving rules of the road.”
Continuing, Minister Naughton said, “We are approaching August which is typically a very busy time of the year on our roads and as such a high-risk period. The summer is an exciting time when so many people take holidays to explore new and familiar places across Ireland, but we must remember to stay safe on the road while doing so. August is also a busy time for road works and safety upgrades so I would appeal to motorists to be mindful of those who are working to improve the quality of our roads, footpaths and cycle-lanes.”
Ms Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson, Road Safety Authority said: “We have seen a devastating increase in road trauma this year. 94 people have died and 673 seriously injured. All of us have a responsibility to stop this upward trend in road crashes. I want to commend the Minister’s decision to double the fines for drivers who break lifesaving rules of the road. There are too many people being killed and seriously injured and we must act to prevent more families from going through this trauma.”
Ms O’Donnell added, “At the RSA we will be launching a new campaign to highlight what’s known as the ‘Speed Fallacy’. The ‘Speed Fallacy’ is the belief that you save lots of time by speeding on a journey when in fact the time savings are miniscule, a minute or two at most on an average journey.”
She concluded by saying “We are heading into the main summer holiday period of the year and road users should expect increased traffic volumes and therefore a higher level of risk when using the road. We are asking all road users to bear this in mind. Our advice to all road users is to remain alert to danger and expect the unexpected on the road.”
Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement, An Garda Síochána said: “There has been an alarming increase in road traffic incidents this year. We know many people will be eager to take to the roads to enjoy the remainder of the summer period, but we want people to do so responsibly. Sadly 94 families already this year have been visited by members of An Garda Síochána to be told the devastating news of the loss of a loved one.
An Garda Síochána will continue to enforce our life saving road traffic laws and we are committed to targeted enforcement and increased Garda visibility on our roads to address the worrying increase in road deaths this year.”
Assistant Commissioner Hilman added, “I am pleased to announce that as of 6am this morning, 61 New safety camera zones will become operational, bringing the total number of safety camera zones nationwide to 1,373’.
Between January and mid July this year a total of 88,368 motorists have been detected speeding, I would appeal to all motorists to slowdown.
Mr Sam Waide, CEO of the Road Safety Authority said: “As we head into main holidaying month of summer, the roads will be busy with people holidaying at home and tourists holidaying here from Northern Ireland, and further afield. The roads will also be very busy with people socialising, travelling to sporting events, festivals, agricultural vehicles bringing in winter and spring harvests, cyclists, walkers, and children who are on summer holidays. My appeal is for all road users to share the road safely, be considerate of other road users and most of all slow down. It’s better to arrive alive than not at all.”
Mr. Waide added “We are deeply concerned by the level of fatalities and serious injuries taking place on our roads already this year. The progress we have made in road safety over the last number of years is at risk of stalling. The June Bank Holiday alone saw eight people die in road collisions on what should have been an enjoyable long weekend which instead turned into a tragedy for some. Let’s all work together to avoid a repeat of this and ensure we all stay safe and enjoy what remains of the summer.”
This August Bank Holiday Weekend drivers are being reminded that the RSA and participating Applegreen service stations are providing free cups of coffee to drivers to help combat driver fatigue. The offer is available from 2pm to 8pm on Friday 29th and on Monday 1 June.
The RSA will also be distributing free reusable cups at select Applegreen stores on Friday 29th July. Please visit one of the following stores to claim yours:
- M1 Lusk North – Dublin
- Ballymount Applegreen – Dublin
- Midway Food Court Applegreen – Portlaoise – Laoise
- Lemybrien Applegreen -Waterford
- Tuam road – Galway