Ireland holds Irish Road Safety Week annually in the first week of October and this year, it takes place from October 3 to 10. This event is organized by the Road Safety Authority (R.S.A.), an organization formed by the Irish Government in 2006 to research and promote road safety. It begins with a road safety lecture that features experts on the chosen theme for the year. Other activities include giving away driver manuals and bicycle lights on social media, interactive games aboard R.S.A’s shuttle bus, and seminars on road safety for employers. The R.S.A. also start accepting entries for its annual Road Safety Awards during this time.
History of Irish Road Safety Week
In ancient times, roads originally carried all sorts of traffic indiscriminately, from beasts of burden to pedestrians. In Rome, important people traversing crowded streets and alleys used minions to clear the way for their litters (wheelless vehicles pulled by humans), carts, and chariots. This showed that the mighty preferred not to trample the bystanders.
The invention and use of powered vehicles in the 19th century inspired the British road safety law to impose speed limits. There was also a requirement that a person on foot should carry a red flag warning those in control of vehicles to stop at his signal. The law that brought these changes was called ‘The Locomotives on Highways Act 1865,’ generally known as the ‘Red Flag Act.’
Today, road behavior and rules have been developed to prioritize certain types of traffic. Motoring groups particularly lobbied for the priority of motorized traffic. Road safety laws moved children off the streets and shoved pedestrians, bicycles, wheelchairs, and scooters to the sidelines. Over time, cities developed concepts such as shared space and living streets to counter this paradigm.
Apart from awareness campaigns, other measures to boost road safety worldwide include the Global Designing Cities Initiative by the National Association of City Transportation Officials to help cities design environmentally-sustainable roads. Such roads improve mobility and economic development while promoting public health, safety, and quality of life. Another initiative is the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility, which provides interest-free loans to low- and middle-income countries to help them execute affordable road safety programs.
Irish Road Safety Week timeline
Bridget Driscoll, 44, of Croydon becomes the first pedestrian killed by a car in the U.K.
On October 31, the world's first crosswalk is officially installed in Slough, England.
The earliest recorded use of the phrase ‘road safety’ is in a book by Henry C. Pearson entitled "Rubber Tires And All About Them."
On average, 22 people die on the roads every day in the U.K.
Irish Road Safety Week FAQs
What is the most common cause of road accidents?
Distracted driving is one of the top causes of road accidents.
When were traffic lights first introduced?
In 1920, William Potts, a Detroit policeman, invented the first four-way and three-colored traffic lights.
Who invented the traffic light?
The first electric traffic light using red and green lights was invented by Utah police officer Lester Farnsworth Wire in 1912.
How to Observe Irish Road Safety Week
Stay alert on the road
Whether you're walking or using motorized transport, it is important to remain aware of your surroundings when on the road. This minimizes the chances of an accident happening.
Educate the kids
Use this week to remind your children about road safety. Use fun videos and other visual guides to make the lessons easier to remember.
Post on social media
Share on social media how you stay safe while on the road. Remember to use the hashtag #IrishRoadSafetyWeek when posting.
5 Facts About Road Accidents That Will Make You Hit The Brakes
Millions die yearly on unsafe roads
About 1.3 million people die every year on the world's roads.
Road accidents cause death among youth
Road accidents are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged five to 29 years worldwide.
Fatality is higher in low-income countries
The risk of dying in a road accident is three times higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries.
Women are the most common victims
Road accidents in the U.S. involved women 17 times more than men as they are pedestrians or passive passengers in the vehicle most of the time.
Seat belts can save lives
Wearing a seat belt effectively reduces death in a road accident by 61%.
Why Irish Road Safety Week is Important
It promotes safer roads
Road safety benefits all road users. Pedestrians, cyclists, bikers, and drivers have a positive experience when the roads are safe.
Traffic laws get a boost
Enforcement of traffic laws is a big part of road safety. Irish Road Safety Week supports the implementation of existing laws and the provision of a visible police presence to deter unsafe driving behavior.
Cities become more pleasant
Cities with safe roads are enjoyable to be in. You can relax knowing that you're safe from harm.
Irish Road Safety Week dates