With road fatalities at their highest level for almost a decade, a new Garda operation focused on drivers aged 71 years and over is now planned.
Road safety campaigns have, until now, often depicted older people as “pedestrians or cyclists” but that was now set to change given the high number of elderly drivers dying on the roads, Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman has said.
People aged over 71 years accounted for 18 of the 106 deaths on the roads so far this year, 14 of whom were drivers, the Irish Times is reporting.
A new Garda approach to road safety is set to begin next week and will involve gardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) targeting drivers with enforcement and education campaigns, with different approaches for age groups and for people in different regions.
Data on enforcement actions and detections will be shared between senior Garda officers in each region. Enforcement actions will then be increased in regions where specific road traffic offences were most common, rather than taking the same approach nationally.
Speaking at a meeting of the Policing Authority on Thursday, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said that of the 57 drivers who have died so far this year, “the stark facts is that 75 per cent were male … It has to be said, there’s something about male drivers”.
All but 10 of the drivers killed so far this year died on rural roads, while 23 died in single-vehicle crashes.
The long-term trend of the roads being most dangerous after midnight no longer applied, with the hours of 8pm to midnight having recently “become a very dangerous time on the road”, Mr Harris said.
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