THERE has been a significant reduction in the number of fatal road accidents in Limerick so far this year compared to 2014.
As of this Wednesday evening, four people had died in four separate incidents - compared to seven at the same point last year.
Three of the four fatalities happened in the Newcastle West garda district over the past six weeks while the fourth happened in Ballybrown in February.
An analysis of the fatal collisions shows that those killed included one driver, one pedestrian and two passengers.
Three of those who died were men while one was an elderly woman.
Garda investigations are continuing into the most recent accidents while a file is currently with the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to the fatality in February.
While there has been a 42% reduction in the number of fatal crashes across the Limerick garda division so far this year, the number of “serious injury collisions” has remained static with nine to date in 2015 - the same as last year.
“There has been a reasonable reduction in the number of fatalities this year but in saying that during the last few months of last year there were four fatalities so the road safety message is ongoing,” said Inspector Paul Reidy, head of the divisional traffic corps.
“Going into the autumn and winter of last year, we had three pedestrians killed and one pedal cyclist so obviously our concern now for the remainder of this year is that pedestrians are careful when they are out on the roads and that they make sure they can be seen by wearing high vis jackets or reflective clothing,” he said.
Insp Reidy is also appealing to other road users and cyclists in particular to be careful as we enter autumn.
“The roads become more dangerous when the daylight hours start reducing, the conditions on the road deteriorate due to darkness and bad weather and it’s important that not only are pedestrians visible but also that cyclists have their bikes lighted up,” he said.
While the number of fatal road accidents has reduced so far this year, the behaviour of some drivers is still a concern for gardai.
The number of speeding offences detected by gardai has increased in some areas of the county and the number of drivers who are caught using mobile phones shows no sign of abating.
“Drink driving is still a concern, there are people being arrested continuously for drink driving - while the message is out there and people are aware, there is still a considerable number of these offences being detected and it would be a concern also for us the number of people who are not wearing their seatbelts,” said Insp Reidy.
In a new departure this year, members of the divisional traffic corps as well as other gardai were deployed at a super-checkpoint on the M7, near Castleconnell in June which resulted in several cars being seized and a number of drivers being arrested.