CARDBOARD cut-outs of Garda personnel complete with speed guns are set to be used to slow danger drivers - it's all about saving lives.
Your driving along, you see a Garda in the distance, what do you do? You ask yourself - am I speeding? Do I have my seat belt on? Get off the mobile phone. Are these your reactions when you see a Garda? - Just like the real thing, the one-dimensional officers are trying to put the brakes on speeders.
Don't be surprised if you see something unusual on the side of the road today in Co. Mayo. The pop-up officers have been used across Mayo to crack down on drivers who exceed speed limits and endanger communities in the past with great success and are once again been deployed as a partnership approach to saving lives on our roads and making Co. Mayo a safer place to live and drive in.
Thousands of motorists on Mayo roadways will be duped by an April fool's trick with a difference - a life-size cardboard cut-out of a garda with a speed gun faced at the traffic. A good April Fools' prank makes everyone laugh, even the person who's the target of the prank. The key to pulling off a great prank is making sure no one is harmed by it. The purpose of this prank is to deliver a message.
The message is clear: "Don't be fooled - speed kills''.
The zany initiative was undertaken by Mayo County Council, with the support of local gardaí, to bring attention to the need for driving within the speed limit, with particular focus on speed as the number of fatalities on our roads increase.
"The purpose of the cut-out is to let people know the only ones they are fooling when they are speeding are themselves.
The County Council has made life size cut-outs of the Garda and has strategically placed them where they have maximum impact.
"Reducing speeding on country roads is incredibly important. Rural areas are far more difficult to police and it is important that every effort is made to improve road safety."As ludicrous as they sound, cardboard cops, have proven to be a cost-efficient and effective way of reducing speeding on rural roads.
People might feel fooled if they slow down when they see the speed-gun in the distance, only to find out it was only a cardboard cut-out. Others might go past it above the speed limit, and feel some relief when it was not a real speed check, but Mayo County Council and An Garda Síochána are committed in working together to saving lives '' said Noel Gibbons, road safety officer with Mayo County Council.
"The point we were trying to get across is that when you speed, you are putting yourself and others at risk. It's not just about avoiding penalty points for speeding, it's about driving safer at all times. We also want to create a safer environment for other road users such as cyclists and pedestrians to encourage smarter travel."
"Drivers too need to pay greater attention to their speed, particularly in urban areas, as this pre-crash factor has the biggest impact on vulnerable road users. Currently 82% of drivers are exceeding the 50km/h speed limit in urban national areas.
"The success of any road safety campaign most importantly relies on the support of the public and motorists to drive in a safe and responsible manner, Speed limits are not targets and motorists must always drive or ride at the safest speed for the existing road and traffic conditions.
"Motorists should take a responsible attitude when it comes to their use of speed. Everyone can make a real difference" said Inspector Dermot J Butler with An Garda Síochána at Garda headquarters in Castlebar .
They say that you can only be in one place at any one time but these cut-outs of Garda Emma Conneely will appear on some of the busiest roads in the west today. It is all about raising awareness. We can all play our part in reducing fatalities and serious injuries on our roads.