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Find out who Mary Ward was with the Road Safety Authority at the National Ploughing Championships

visionzero 19.09.2023

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is calling on people to come and find out who was Mary Ward by visiting the RSA at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co Laois from September 19th - 21st. The RSA’s stand at Europe’s leading agricultural trade exhibition will educate attendees on road safety messages.

The RSA last week launched the “Who was Mary Ward? Vision Zero” campaign which calls on the public to work together so we see our last road death in Ireland.

The RSA, alongside government partners and road safety advocates, is asking all road users for their support in achieving this vision by changing their behaviour, to make Irish roads safer for all.  Vision Zero is a worldwide commitment that aims for no road deaths or serious injuries on Irish roads by 2050.

The campaign centres around the story of Mary Ward (1827 – 1869) who was the first person in the world to be killed in an automobile incident. Her life was tragically cut short when she fell under the wheels of the motor vehicle she was travelling in, at Birr, Co. Offaly in 1869.

The intervention comes at a time when there has been a worrying increase in road deaths with fatalities in the first six months of 2023 hitting a six-year high. There has been an increase in the number of deaths taking place on rural roads, which have accounted for 70% of fatalities this year.   

RSA staff will also be on hand to offer advice on the correct use of agricultural equipment or machinery and answer any queries on vehicle safety standards such as towing capacity, braking rules, lighting laws and vehicle maintenance requirements.

Drivers of agricultural vehicles are being reminded that they are subject to all road traffic legislation. They are required to carry the appropriate licence and farm vehicles are required to be taxed, insured and roadworthy, including fully operational lights front and rear. The RSA is calling road users to be aware of an increased presence of agricultural vehicles on the roads; allow extra space and only overtake when it is safe to do so.

Mr. Sam Waide, CEO of the RSA, said: “The Ploughing Championships is a major highlight in the RSA’s calendar. I invite people to join us at our stand where we'll be actively engaging with attendees to promote responsible driving habits and ensure everyone's safety on the roads around the country. Our road safety experts will be on hand offering tips on safe driving practices, providing information on the latest regulations, and addressing any questions or concerns you may have. Together, we can make a significant impact in reducing road deaths and saving lives. So, when you visit our stand, take a moment to engage with our team, gather valuable insights, and join us in our mission to create safer roads for everyone.”

The RSA information stand will include information on:

  • Who is Mary Ward – Vision Zero Campaign
  • Vehicle Standards
  • Vehicle Testing and Enforcement
  • Driver Testing and Licensing
  • Road Safety Education – come speak to us about road safety in your school

The RSA will be located at block 4, row 22, stand number 351 at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co Laois from September 19th-21st.