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New Road Safety Campaign Fronted by Emergency Services launched in response to rise in road deaths

  • Agencies make road safety appeal as national travel restrictions are lifted for Christmas and New Year
  • Drivers urged to allow extra time for journeys and to take breaks to avoid fatigue
  • 18 lives lost on roads between St. Stephen’s Day and New Year’s Day in last five years

The Road Safety Authority (RSA), An Garda Síochána, Dublin Fire Brigade and the Department of Transport, are urging road users to act responsibly and safely when using the roads throughout the Christmas and New Year period. The call was made at the launch of a new road safety campaign, which is fronted by members of the emergency services.

There has been an increase in fatalities on Irish roads in 2020, and with the period between Christmas and New Year’s a traditionally dangerous time on the roads, the new campaign aims to encourage road users to be extra cautious over the festive period.

Analysis by the RSA of An Garda Síochána Investigation Files for fatal collisions, shows that 18 people lost their lives during this period over the last five years. To date in 2020, there have been 143 fatalities on Irish roads, this is 12 more deaths compared to 2019.

The lifting of Covid-19 restrictions to allow people to travel across county borders, ahead of Christmas, will mean additional traffic on Irish roads. With the expectation of higher volumes, the RSA is asking drivers to allow additional time for journeys, take breaks and to be extra vigilant for vulnerable road users.

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Ms. Hildegarde Naughton said: “Travel restrictions are being lifted today to allow people to travel home for Christmas, and we want to ensure that everyone reaches their destination safely. Many people will be unused to driving long distances, so I would urge people to please take your time. What’s important is that you arrive safely. I want to commend the work of our emergency services, especially for their involvement in this timely road safety campaign which is being launched today.

In what has been a challenging year I want to thank them for the brilliant services they continue to provide in our communities. The commitment we have seen in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been extraordinary. But road safety is also a public health issue and we need to see the same commitment from all road users to saving lives on our roads.”

Mr Sam Waide, CEO of the RSA said: “Emergency services personnel have first-hand experience of dealing with the aftermath of road crashes daily. That’s why we wanted our latest road safety appeal, in response to the increase in deaths, to be a direct appeal from them.

They have witnessed the devastating consequences of road trauma and, as they say themselves, what’s happening is needless and utterly preventable. So, as we approach the high-risk Christmas and New Year period, I would ask everyone to please heed their message to watch out for each other on the road.”

“With national travel restrictions now lifted I am also urging drivers to take their time if setting out on a long journey and to recognise the signs of driver fatigue. If you feel tired while driving, Stop, Sip, Sleep. That’s stop somewhere safe, have a caffeinated drink and nap for 15 minutes.

Whatever you do, please don’t fight sleep at the wheel. Drivers also need to be mindful of vulnerable road users, particularly when visibility is poor on dark and unlit roads. Cyclists and pedestrians should also protect themselves in such conditions by wearing reflective material such as a high-visibility vest.”

Chief Superintendent, Ray McMahon, Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, An Garda Síochána, said: “An Garda Síochána is committed to reducing fatalities and serious injuries on our roads and my colleagues throughout the country, will be present on the roads over the Christmas period.

We will be focusing on the main killer behaviours that lead to death and injury; we have seen high numbers of drivers being detected for speeding and drink driving in recent months and we will continue to target these irresponsible behaviours. Traffic volumes have reduced by approximately 30% on average this year and yet the numbers of people we have caught speeding on our roads has increased by over one quarter.

Drink Driving continues to be an issue that we will focus on over this Christmas period and while the numbers of people offending has reduced broadly in line with traffic volumes, the same cannot be said for those driving under the influence of drugs. Since the Christmas campaign started on December 4, the numbers of Drug Drivers has doubled compared to the same period last year (102% increase).

We have witnessed this trend right throughout 2020. We know the carnage that this type of driving can cause to our road users. We witness it when we have to go to these fatal and serious collisions, and we witness the devastation it can have on the families concerned. So, we will focus strongly on drug driving as well as drink driving this Christmas period. Please do not take unnecessary risks – keep our roads, and your loved ones safe this Christmas and New Year.”

Chief Fire Officer Dennis Keeley, Dublin Fire Brigade said: “Emergency services personnel are ready day and night to respond to any emergency that happens on the road. They say prevention is better than cure and with this in mind I and my colleagues in the fire services across the country would urge all road users to think about your actions and how you can keep the roads safe for everyone.

Not just this Christmas and New Year but into 2021. It is often the simplest behavioural changes that make the greatest difference, so slow down, always wear your seatbelt, put the mobile phone away and watch out for cyclists and pedestrians. Stay safe and keep others safe too.”

The RSA, An Garda Síochána and Dublin Fire Brigade emergency services-led intervention campaign, includes a series new road safety adverts that will air on Video On Demand across multiple digital platforms, it includes three ads that will air on national and local radio and it will be supported by digital and social media activity.

Links for the new road safety campaign are below:

Christmas 20 sec:

Adrian 20 sec:

Andrew 30 sec:

Radio ads:


Road Traffic Collision Fatalities between Stephen's Day (26 Dec) and New Year's Eve (31 Dec) 2013-2019


YearNumber of Fatalities

Note, figures for 2018 and 2019 are provisional