FROM 7am on Friday 6th July to 7am on Saturday 7th July, An Garda Síochána, along with other stakeholders, will run Operation “Slow Down”.

The objectives of the Operation are to raise awareness of the dangers of inappropriate and excessive speed, reduce the number of speed related collisions, and therefore save lives and reduce injuries on our roads.

For the past six years, there has been a year on year decrease in the number of road fatalities in Ireland.

As we move into the second half of 2012, there have been four more fatalities on our roads than at this time last year.

Based on collision data Fridays and Saturdays have the highest proportion of fatal collisions.

Allied to this, July and August tend to have the greatest number of fatal collisions month on month.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, in co-operation with other stakeholders nationwide including the Road Safety Authority, National Roads Authority, National Transport Authority,  Health and Safety Authority and local authorities, is appealing to members of the public to “Slow down and save lives”.

Commissioner Callinan speaking in Dublin Castle said, “A speed limit is defined as the maximum that you may travel on any road, when conditions are perfect.

“It is not a target. When you are faced with adverse weather, road or traffic conditions, the most effective way to keep safe is to slow down and give yourself more time to adapt to all that is happening around you.

“We are appealing to all vehicle drivers to keep within the speed limits, and when necessary, slow down.

“The time lost by reducing your speed by 5 or 10 km/h on a long journey is insignificant, but the increase in road safety terms to you and all around you is very significant.

“We particularly wish to thank all the companies, organisations and departments that are supporting An Garda Síochána and the RSA with this important safety initiative. “The massive level of support is indicative of the desire and necessity to always keep Road Safety to the forefront of all our minds”

Noel Brett, CEO of the Road Safety Authority added, “Tragically 96 lives have been lost on our roads so far this year in unnecessary, preventable tragedies.

“The month of June has been particularly bad with 25 road deaths, a level of carnage not seen in almost two years.

“I’m also concerned about the number of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities which show a marked increase on this time last year.

“As we look to the next six months it is clear that we all need to make a bigger effort on the road and hopefully we can save lives and prevent further grief and suffering for families and communities across the country.

“The people of Ireland have shown what can be achieved when road safety is prioritised.

“So, I’m asking every road user to set their own personal target to return to the life-saving behaviour they have shown over the last number of years.”

Each Garda Division will have an area locally where members will be available to give road safety advice and distribute leaflets.

Garda members who are not responding to emergency calls will be leading by example – reducing their speed, and driving at speeds appropriate to the prevailing conditions.

Public and private sector fleet operators have been asked to participate in the initiative by circulating employees with the key message to “Slow Down” and, whether driving for business or private purposes, to always drive within the speed and at a speed appropriate to the prevailing conditions.

There will be highly visible speed checkpoints on national primary and secondary roads, carried out by local members and the Garda Traffic Corps, and also by GoSafe vans.