Whether you're Irish or not, St. Patrick's Day is a great excuse for a fun and festive celebration.The spirit of Irish culture will flood the streets, with melodies from the harp and violin and the tap of feet from local dancing schools, but this year the Road Safety Officers in Mayo and Galway with An Garda Síochána are requesting all parade organising committees to keep road safety at the forefront by encouraging entrants to enter road safety floats or groups highlighting road safety, to remind all road users that they can play their part in road safety awareness. This year, St. Patrick's Day falls on a Sunday (March 17th) so some people may plan on partying for a long weekend.
Unfortunately, some of these people might also be driving home or walking home from their festivities and therefore, the night out has also become potentially dangerous. There are parties at people's homes, at bars, during and after parades and in entire communities.
Hospital Accident and Emergency Departments across the Country report a huge increase in the number of admissions on St Patrick's Day and a high percentage of these are pedestrians who have fallen after over indulging on alcohol, these pedestrians are not alone putting themselves at risk when using the streets and roads but other road users also.
Mr Charlie Meehan, General Manager of Mayo General Hospital said, "We strongly advocate that pedestrians use a footpath where there is one provided; where there is no footpath provided to walk as near as possible to the right hand side of the road (facing oncoming traffic) and to always wear a high visibility vest. If there are no street lights and you think there is sufficient light for you to see your way home, remember that without high visibility clothing you won't be seen be oncoming drivers. If you take a drink then you are responsible for your own safety and also ensure the safety of others .
Deirdre Caulfield, Road Safety Officer, Galway Co. Council said ‘If you are going to party, plan ahead. Keep the number of a taxi company with you, learn about public transportation and get home safely. Even if you will not be celebrating this St. Patrick's Day, keep in mind that in the past people have been involved in collisions on St. Patrick's day, so pay attention to others on the road".
"An Garda Síochána are most concerned that Fatal Collisions continue to increase within the Western Region in 2012. At March 12th 2013, eight people have lost their lives on public roads in the Western Garda Region. The break down is four Drivers, three Pedestrians and one Pedal Cyclist.
Many others have been injuried in collisions. The trauma and emotional stress caused by Traffic Collisions is huge as it effects families, friends and communities.
Priority for all emergency services is to get those injured to hospital as quickly as possible. It behoves every road user to take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of collisions on public roads. An Garda Siochana wish to advise motorists to drive at the appropriate speed.
If all road users take responsibility for their action, plan their journeys and think safety together we can help reduce collision and injuries said Mr Martin Cashen Superintendent , An Garda Síochána , Western Region (Traffic).''
- Don't risk driving under the influence of Alcohol/Drugs.
- Abstain from using hand held phone and wear your seat belt.
- Pedestrians and cyclists should wear Hi Vis clothing and appropriate lights during hours of darkness.