As the Easter holidays approach and with many young people already enjoying a break from schools and colleges, police are once again urging all road users and pedestrians to focus on road safety.
Chief Inspector Diane Pennington said, "Tragically, 18 people have already lost their lives on our roads this year - double the number of people compared to the same time period last year.
“I am asking everyone to stop and think about this figure for a moment. These figures are not just statistics. Every time you hear about a fatal or serious collision on the news, there is a family, a circle of friends, a community plunged into mourning.
“There are many other people across the country how are having to learn how to cope with life changing injuries after being involved in serious collisions.
“So as we approach the Easter holiday period, with more people out and about it is critically important that everyone focuses on road safety, as our statistics indicate that there is an increased risk of collisions during public holidays.”
"In the coming days we will be paying particular attention to our road network and will be liaising closely 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 enjoying 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 ongoing spell of good weather brining greater numbers of motorcyclists out onto the roads, we’re encouraging bikers to ensure their machines 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.
“All other road users, particularly those using country roads, need to ensure they drive at an appropriate speed to give them enough time to react to any slower moving agricultural vehicles, pay particular attention to width markings and any signals. Please take extra care and patience to reduce risk by not making dangerous overtaking manoeuvres.
Police are also advising anyone taking their vehicle on any holiday trips to ensure that their vehicle is safe.
Chief Inspector Pennington continued, “Before you set off on any driving trips, always ensure you are well rested and are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs and, plan your route and identify opportunities 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.
“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,” Chief Inspector Pennington concluded.