Garda Traffic Unit

Garda Traffic Sweater Patch

In each Region throughout the country there are Garda Traffic Units dedicated to the enforcement of road traffic legislation and also to aid the free flow of traffic generally. Each Division has its own Traffic Unit (previously knows as the Garda Special Traffic Corps) with vehicles dedicated to the traffic policing role.

The first Traffic Unit was established in Dublin in the early 1950's and was extended nationwide in 1973. The numbers of Gardai attached to Traffic Units has been greatly increased in recent years as part of the Garda Síochána's continuing commitment to enhancing overall road safety.

Traffic Division of the Dublin Metropolitan Region

The Traffic Division of the Dublin Metropolitan Region is located at Dublin Castle and was first established in 1953.

Its main area of responsibility is the free movement of traffic and enforcement of all aspects of Road Traffic Legislation in the Dublin Metropolitan Region. (Including Speeding Checkpoints like the one below)

Garda Traffic Mondeo New Colours

The Division is headed by a Chief Superintendent and under his command are 1 Superintendent, 3 Inspectors, 15 Sergeants, 99 Gardai and 7 civilian support staff. There are a total of 70 vehicles in the Traffic Division Fleet comprising motorcycles, patrol cars (marked and unmarked), Jeeps and GATSO speed detection vans.

Garda Honda Pan European 1100cc at the Garda College Garda Speed Checkpoint Grange Road, Dublin

Due to the rising level of car crime in the Dublin Metropolitan Region most or nearly all of the traffic vehicles carry a utility called a "Stinger". A Stinger can be described as a wire mesh containing steel spikes. The Steel Spikes are about two - three inches high and 3-4 centimeters in diameter. The Spikes can be detached from the mesh quite easily when impacted by tyres of a speeding vehicle and deflait the tyres quite quickly.

Garda 'Stinger' device Garda Traffic Isuzu Trooper on Speed Checkpoint

Why? When a stolen car is being pursued by Gardaì they can call for a car that has a Stinger on board. This car wil then proceed to a junction of the road where they expect the stolen car to come through. The member who is trained in the use of the Stinger will throw it accross the road in front of the stolen car. The hollow spikes will detach from the Stinger and puncture the tyres and remain in the tyre so that they will deflait quite quickly casuing the car to grind to a halt in a matter of feet. This utility is a valuable resource in the fight against car crime and also dangerous driving as it gives the Gardaì an extra advantage over the criminals who steal cars.

The Carraige Office

The Carriage Department was part of the old Dublin Metropolitan Police. The first Carriage Inspector was appointed in 1842. The strength of the Department at that time was 1 Inspector, 1 Sergeant and 7 Constables.

The main role of the old Carriage Department was the licensing of Horse Drawn Carriages and their drivers and also to enforce the Carriage Acts.

The use of horse drawn carriages has long since dwindled and the Present day Carriage Office is concerned with all types of vehicles used for the carriage of passengers (Public Service Vehicles). Personnel strength consists of 1 Inspector, 2 Sergeants, 10 Gardai and 4 Civilian Staff.

The Carriage Office has responsibility for the provision of services in the following areas:
  • Supervision, examination and licensing of Public Service Vehicles and Drivers
  • Carrying out technical examination of vehicles, which are the subject of Garda investigation - such as fatal and serious injury traffic accidents, defective Vehicles and Garda fleet vehicles involved in road traffic accidents.
  • Enforcement of Public Service Vehicle Regulations
  • Lost Property - Any property found in a Public Service Vehicle is deposited at the Carriage Office, where efforts are made to trace the owner, and re-unite them with their property. In the Dublin Region at present there are 58 Horse Drawn Carriages with 100 drivers, 9,698 Taxis, 1,141 Hackneys, 305 Limousines, 1,220 buses and 21,325 licenced PSV drivers - currently active. Records of all licences are maintained at the Carriage Office (figures as of November 2003).

    The Road Transport Unit

    The Road Transport Unit deals specifically with the enforcement of legislation and regulations governing the use of Commercial Vehicles, i.e., Trucks and Buses, on the Public Roads throughout the Dublin Metropolitan Region. The Unit consists of 1 Sergeant and 3 Gardai.

    While Buses and Coaches fall within the remit of the Unit, most of the work covers Trucks, from small delivery vehicles to the heavier tractor and trailer combinations used for domestic and international haulage.

    Laws enforced include all of the Road Transport Acts since 1932 and all of the European Union Regulations governing such areas as Speed Limiters, Tachograph and Drivers Hours. Members mount their own operations and checkpoints working randomly, moving quickly from one place to another throughout the DMR. Vehicles are inspected to ensure they comply with all of the Regulations as well as being taken to weighbridges if it is suspected they may be overweight.

    Staff at the Unit work primarily with Gardai in the Traffic Division itself, but also with the Traffic Units operated by each individual Garda Division throughout the Dublin Metropolitan Region. They provide briefings on the legislation and on its implementation as well as providing technical expertise on roadside checkpoints.

    The Unit also supports the training function within An Garda Síochána by providing specialist knowledge in the form of lectures to classes at the Garda College in Templemore.