By Sarah Mac Donald - 02 August, 2014
In a statement issued on Friday, the Bishop cited figures for Irish road deaths as he urged road users to exercise particular vigilance in terms of safety and to be responsible on the roads.
He said the banks holidays, which take place over 2-4 August in the Republic and 23-25 August in Northern Ireland, need particular vigilance.
“Up to 31 July the recorded 2014 road fatality figures stood at 112 for the Republic and 43 for the North. This loss of human life is heart-breaking for the loved ones of the deceased and a tragedy for our society as a whole,” he said.
“Care for one another in our community is a basic human value which travels across different faiths and cultures. This duty of care also applies to our road use and it is fundamental to the common good of all in society.”
Bishop MacDaid concluded, “As individuals we have an obligation to exercise a duty of care to other road users by improving our driver behaviour and, at a public policy level, this improved behaviour needs to be matched by effective strategic planning and greater resourcing.”
Bishop MacDaid recommends the following dedicated prayer for motorists which may be recited before driving, especially during the busy holiday month of August when so many more people are on the roads:
Prayer for motorists before driving
Before I take my place behind the wheel
I pray, O Sacred Heart – Guide me on my way.
Virgin Mary, Morning Star, from every danger guide this car.
Thou dear Lord who gave it to enjoy,
Grant that its purpose be to save and not destroy.
The Gardaí have warned that they will be out in force this weekend targeting all aspects of road traffic enforcement, with particular emphasis on speeding, drink and drug driving, non-wearing of seatbelts, mobile phones use and reckless driving.
“Since 2009, 42 people have been killed and seriously injured on our roads over the August Bank Holiday weekend, including 5 people who lost their lives in 2013. No lives however were lost in 2012,” Chief Superintendent Michael O’ Sullivan of the Garda National Traffic Bureau said.
An Garda Síochána is reminding road-users that bank holiday weekends are high risk periods for death and serious injury, simply because there are more people on our roads, many travelling long distances and this is where fatigue can prove deadly.
On Friday, a new safety measure requiring newly qualified drivers to display N-plates on their vehicles was introduced by the Road Safety Authority.
“The purpose of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system is to reduce the number of collisions, deaths and injuries among learner and novice drivers, particularly among the high-risk 17 to 24-year-olds, during the learning to drive period and the period immediately after they pass their test,” a spokesperson for the RSA said.