Gardaí, with the support of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), are currently operating a national speed enforcement campaign, ‘Slow Down Day’, across the country.

The operation began at 7:00a.m today (Thursday, June 2) and will run for 24 hours.

It will consist of a high-visibility garda presence in 1,322 speed enforcement zones.

Gardaí will also be focusing on enforcement of speed limits and other “life saver offences” over the June Bank Holiday weekend.

90 people have been killed or seriously injured in collisions during the bank holiday in the last five years.

At the launch of their June Bank Holiday road safety appeal and National ‘Slow Down Day’ at the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway today, Gardaí and the RSA urged drivers to slow down and always choose a speed that is appropriate to the driving conditions.

It comes as the preliminary results of a new RSA pilot study revealed that over three quarters of drivers were observed speeding in 50km/h zones.

The study, which included over 5,000 observations of vehicles in October 2021, found that when viewed from a weekday perspective, 75% of observed drivers were driving in excess of 50km/h.

At the weekend, 93% of observed drivers broke the speed limit. Over half of drivers (51%) were observed driving at speeds of 10km/h or higher in 50km/h speed zones.

Separately, analysis of data for 2013-2017 found that a quarter of driver fatalities involved excessive speed in the lead-up to the fatal collision.

Gardai speed car

Speaking at today’s launch, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton said:

“The number of drivers observed speeding in the RSA’s recent study in 50km/h zones is very concerning. These are speed zones that are rich in pedestrians and cyclists, vulnerable road users.

“Reducing the risk posed to vulnerable road users in these speed zones and encouraging safer, greener active travel is one of the key priorities of the new government Road Safety Strategy,” she continued.

“We are reviewing speed limits and examining the possibility of a greater roll-out of 30km/h speed zones, as well as conducting a review of penalties related to speeding,” the minister said.

Highlighting the dangers of speed-related collisions on rural roads Liz O’Donnell, chair of the RSA, said:

“It is important to acknowledge that most drivers do the right thing and drive at an appropriate speed. However, there are some drivers who continually ignore our speed limits and put themselves and others at risk.

“This is particularly dangerous on higher-speed rural roads which are often narrow, and where bends and corners can restrict a driver’s vision,” O’Donnell noted.

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, roads policing and community engagement with An Garda Síochána said:

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that a 5% reduction in average speed could result in a 30% reduction in fatal collisions, and therefore reducing motorists’ speed is essential to improving safety on our roads.”