Mayo County Council’s road safety officer is using the GAA Football All-Ireland Final to remind people travelling to the game of the high number of casualties that occur on rural roads.
Many thousands of Mayo fans will cross Ireland to support their team in the final, which takes place at Croke Park on Sunday 22 September.
Noel Gibbons, Mayo’s RSO, points out that in the period 2007-2011, 73% of Ireland’s road fatalities occurred on rural roads. And across the EU, around 56% of road deaths occur on rural roads.
He also says that many drivers regard country roads to be low risk as there is less traffic on them, but that statistically speaking there is a significantly higher chance of death and injury on these roads.
He is asking fans to support the ‘Give Yourself Time’ campaign which asks motorists to make a personal commitment to drive at “appropriate and legal speeds”.
Noel Gibbons said: “It is not the fact that rural roads are inherently more dangerous than urban roads. The fact is that young rural drivers are more likely to crash, either because they feel more confident driving at speeds, negotiating bends or driving on unlit roads.
“Drivers should remember that patience is a virtue when it comes to deciding to overtake another vehicle. It could be a life saver.”
Conor Faughnan, director of consumer affairs at AA Ireland, said: “All-Ireland final day is a huge date in the Irish calendar. This year will see many thousands of Mayo fans crossing the country to Croke Park and it will be a busy weekend on the roads.
“It is desperately important for us all to make an effort to drive safely. Slow down, especially on dangerous secondary roads. Speed is our biggest killer but that does not just mean high speed but inappropriate speed.
“There are roads and traffic situations where the only safe thing to do is stay well below the speed limit and well back from the vehicle in front. If we all made the effort to reduce speed even slightly it would make a huge difference.”
Contact Noel Gibbons on 08778 70055 for more information.