Gardai say drunk driving is still a big source of concern

EIGHT lives have been lost and 32 people have been seriously injured on the roads of Kerry this year to date, official garda figures confirm.

This compares with a total of three fatalities and 61 serious injuries recorded in the county in 2018, secondary school students attending a road safety event in Killarney were informed.

Inspector Tony Sugrue: The disturbing trend in drunk driving is the biggest source of concern

The AXA Roadsafe Roadshow, in partnership with An Garda Siochana, delivered a hard-hitting road safety message to 1,200 transition year students who heard that the number of deaths on Irish roads in the first 11 months of this year was 131 – an increase of seven last year.

One third of all driver and passenger fatalities were not wearing a seatbelt at time of collision and one and one third of all crashes had excessive speed as a factor.

Senior Kerry garda officer, Inspector Tony Sugrue, said the overall trend in Kerry has shown improvement in the last 15 years in terms of enforcement, engineering and education.

“The continuing disturbing trend in drunk driving is the biggest source of concern, as the increased detection rates are primarily driven by those in the 20 to 40-year old category,” he said.

“An Garda Siochana in the Kerry division are actively looking at ways to engage with young people and events such as the AXA Roadsafe Roadshow play a significant part in targeting this age group,” Inspector Sugrue added.

The roadshow, based on an award-winning format, stresses the skills young students need before they get behind the wheel of a car.

Using a backdrop of contemporary music, video clips and television advertisements, the story was told by Garda Peter McCarthy, paramedic Eugene Tangney, fire officer Dan Keane and accident and emergency consultant Martin Boyd. The show culminated in a presentation by Ann Tydings from Lisselton who lost her son, Padraig, 15 years ago in a car accident after his 22nd birthday.

Pictures: Domnick Walsh. Click on individual images for details

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