Local police have launched their latest road safety campaign, reminding the public of the need to keep road safety at the forefront of their minds.
Explaining that the PSNI’s statistics show an increased risk of road traffic collisions during holiday periods, Superintendent Sue Steen said: “To date this year, 28 people have been killed on our roads and behind each fatality are families, friends and communities across Northern Ireland who are mourning the loss of a loved one. Considering that many, if not the majority of these deaths caused by collisions could have been avoided; it is an appalling waste of life.
“Inattention, speeding, or more accurately, excessive speed for the conditions and drink or drug driving, are consistently the principal causes of the most serious road traffic collisions in which people are killed or seriously injured.
“Over the coming months, we will have police resources on the roads across Northern Ireland and will be using legislation first introduced in November 2016, which gives us powers to perform random breath tests at vehicle checkpoints.
“In addition to the checkpoints, any driver or motorcyclist we stop, whether for speeding, using a mobile phone, or committing any moving traffic offence can expect to be breathalysed. So too can anyone involved in a collision or who we suspect may have consumed alcohol or taken drugs.
“We will also be liaising with our An Garda Síochána Traffic Corps colleagues in the border counties, specifically looking for road users taking unnecessary and potentially life-changing risks.
“With many school children and young people preparing to enjoy the holidays, road users should also keep an eye out for increased numbers of children using or crossing roads, particularly close to parks and leisure amenities, in addition to junctions and bus stops.
“Pedestrians must pay attention to their environment, whether that means not getting distracted by friends or mobile devices, or being especially careful when walking on country roads by walking against the traffic flow and by wearing highly visible clothing.
“With the better weather we are also particularly mindful of more motorcyclists taking to the roads, so we’re encouraging bikers to ensure their motorcycles and safety equipment are in good working order and that they ride defensively. In addition, drivers need to be alert to the presence of motorcyclists using the road network, particularly when emerging from and turning into junctions.”
Police are also advising anyone taking/using their vehicle on any long holiday trips or drives to ensure that their vehicle is in top and safe working condition.
Superintendent Steen continued: “Before you set off, always make sure you are well rested and are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs and, plan your route and identify opportunities for you to take a break during your journey.
“Make sure your vehicle tyres are in good, legal condition, with the correct pressures, that you have enough fuel and that you’ve topped up all the fluid levels - you don’t want a breakdown or worse yet, a tyre blowing out. Do not overload your vehicle and please also remember to check the safety of any trailers or caravans and to abide by any speed restrictions for your vehicle / towing outfit, or any driving license entitlements.
“Police make no excuse for robustly enforcing the law to make Northern Ireland’s roads safer. We ask that drivers slow down and remember that we all share the responsibility to prevent deaths and serious injuries on our roads - do not drive after drinking or taking drugs, drive with greater care and attention and never use mobile phones while driving.”