Drivers in Ireland are being urged to slow down on the roads as the number of pedestrians and cyclists increases.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have launched a new road safety campaign “We’re on the road back. Make it a safer one,” following the lifting of COVID-19 travel restrictions which now allow travel within a 20km limit of the home or within the county boundary.

Drivers are being urged to slow down, avoid distractions while driving and take care when passing pedestrians and cyclists. Pedestrians are reminded to use the footpath and if there is none, to walk on the right-hand side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.

In addition, the RSA and An Garda Síochána are reminding car owners to ensure their vehicle, which may not have been driven for some time, is roadworthy by undertaking some basic maintenance checks.

“In the period covered by the start of government measures (13 March) up to 7 June 2020, the end of Phase 1, there were 26 fatalities compared to 35 over the same period in 2019,” said Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the RSA.

“While fewer people were killed during the period of restrictions, the level of road deaths was unacceptably high when you consider there was a 70 percent drop in traffic volumes.”

O’Donnell said she was also fearful that, as people started getting back on the roads, they would not realise that there is now a changed environment, with children on their summer holidays and more people walking and cycling.

“As the restrictions are relaxed, it is more important than ever that we share the roads safely,” she added. “Drivers need to slow down and be mindful of these vulnerable road users.”