WITH the busiest holiday weekend of the year upon us, there is a greater need than ever to be vigilant on our roads with increased traffic and also a worrying 7% year-on-year increase in road collision fatalities to the end of this July.
2018 saw a record low, since records began 58 years ago, of 146 deaths on Irish roads. Gardaí will be out in force this weekend policing the highways and byways, but it is really down to all road users to exercise due caution.
And, as well as that, swimmers and all people taking part in other water leisure activities this holiday season need to be safety-conscious, especially males. Of the 103 people drowned in Ireland last year, the vast majority of them – 79 – were males, with 24 female victims.
While Water Safety Ireland was pleased with progress in reducing drowning fatalities from 109 in 2017 to last year’s figure of 103 – which was the lowest overall figure in 80 years – it is still far too many lives being lost, often needlessly, in this way. Almost a quarter of all drownings last year were recorded as ‘intentional’ and were virtually impossible to prevent, however the majority of the 68 fatalities recorded as ‘accidental’ and the other 11 ‘undetermined’ may have been preventable if the common sense advice of Water Safety Ireland was followed – the main one being to swim at lifeguarded waterways.
Holidays are meant to be occasions of joy and happiness and everybody should do their utmost to ensure that they are not marred by fatalities because of their driving or their behaviour in the water.