Drivers flashing lights before checkpoints ‘doing more harm than good’

By Diarmaid Doherty

A senior Garda has hit out at the practice of motorists flashing their lights to warn other road users of a Garda checkpoint or speed van up ahead.

Chief Superintendent Aidan Glackin said all road users have a collective responsibility to ensure that our roads are safe.


But he said the efforts of the Gardaí in that regard are not helped when so many drivers do their best to highlight the location of speed vans or garda checkpoints.

Speaking at Friday’s Donegal County Joint Policing Committee in Lifford Chief Supt Glackin said social media was also playing its part in the problem.

“If you go to any social media forum and you type in the words ‘Garda checkpoints’, you very quickly see pages warning people of the location of those,” he said.

“Do we want garda checkpoints? Or as a collective, as a society, have we decided to advise people to get away from the checkpoints?

“Is it our business to warn people who are maybe drink or drug drivers that there is a potential garda checkpoint up ahead and to avoid it.

“Is that what we should be doing?”

His comments came during a debate on Garda checkpoints and mandatory intoxicant checkpoints used to detect drink or drug drivers.


Committee member Joe Boland was critical of the fact too many checkpoints are located on the same roads, often at similar times.

He said many people choose to drive on back roads because they know when and where to avoid the checkpoints.

Chief Supt. Glackin said he accepted Mr. Boland’s point, but said everyone had a responsibility to play their part in making our roads safer.

“What’s the benefit of warning people about Garda checkpoints?

“The number of checkpoints are there, not to detect people – they are there to ensure that people driving on the roads can do so safely,” he said.

“Our primary function is to keep people safe in society, that’s what we are there for. It’s not to detect people.

“It’s not our desire to increase detections for the sake of it. We want to protect road users, be that pedestrians, cyclists or whatever, that’s our function.”

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