A nationwide garda campaign to crack down on road accidents is under way for the first bank holiday weekend of the summer.

The initiative is aimed at reducing what has been described as the alarming number of deaths recorded on previous May bank holiday weekends.

Over the next four days, garda checkpoints will be in operation on national primary routes, particularly at times of the day when there is greatest movement of traffic.

Emphasis will also be placed on targeting motorists coming from pubs and other licensed premises.

Figures show that in the last five years 22 people were killed and 516 people were injured on the May weekends.

Six people died and 76 were injured in road traffic accidents this time last year.

Meanwhile, the National Safety Council has urged drivers to slow down, wear seatbelts and ensure their passengers do the same.

Its acting Chief Executive Alan Richardson appealed to motorists to bear in mind that if they are more careful, more people would be returning to work, school or the family home after the bank holiday.