Today I called on Facebook to close down a Facebook page which posts the times and whereabouts of checkpoints across Dublin in order to help drivers avoid them.
I said that the Facebook page, ‘Garda Checkpoints Dublin’ was both dangerous and irresponsible.
The random nature of Garda checkpoints and speed cameras exist for a reason. That is to stop people speeding and drink driving and ultimately to save lives. This approach has helped to reduce the numbers of people dying on Irish roads in the last fifteen years by more than halve.
This page threatens to negate the impact of these important and effective road safety measures. Knowing and sharing the locations of checkpoints makes them far less effective. While it might seem like a harmless bit of fun, in reality it aides those who wish to engage in drink-driving or speeding, behaviour which puts them and other road users at risk.
The fact that the page has received over 6,000 ‘likes’ in 24 hours is very disconcerting. This page has already posted the locations of 70 speed cameras and checkpoints. I have communicated with Facebook in a bid to get this page shut down.
While the establishment of the Facebook page doesn’t break the law, it certainly abuses the spirit of it and encourages people to drive irresponsibly. I would also urge responsible people to avoid the group and contact Facebook urging that the page be closed down.”
Garda checkpoints exist in order to catch people who are speeding and drink driving and to deter other road users from engaging in this behaviour. There can be no doubt that this approach has helped to drastically reduce the number of deaths on Irish roads.
The number of road deaths fell to 212 in 2010, the lowest level on record. The target of achieving no more than 252 deaths per annum by the end of 2012 was achieved three years ahead of schedule. People who use this site are effectively trying to negate the impact of these hugely important road safety measures.