THE afternoon time, between 2pm and 4pm, is the most dangerous time to be driving it has emerged, as records show a 260pc increase in the number of people killed on Irish roads.
The draft report from the Road Safety Authority (RSA), which is due for publication later this month, shows that Friday is now the most dangerous day to travel on Irish roads, with 36 killed on that day.
During 2013, the mid afternoon period was the most dangerous period on Irish roads with 26 deaths taking place, up from 10 deaths in 2012.
Provisional RSA figures contained in a draft of its Review of Road Crashes 2013 show the numbers killed between 10am and midday also doubled.
Mr Shatter rejected as “erroneous” Mr Byrne’s claims that cuts to the Garda budgets have led to people taking more chances on the roads because of “a lack of enforcement, caused by cutbacks”.
Mr Byrne said the RSA was deeply concerned about the high number of pedestrians, 31 in total, who were killed in 2013.
The report found that 10 of those were hit while crossing the road, and half were over the age of 50. Almost one in five (17pc) weren’t wearing a seatbelt. Mr Byrne lashed out at the Government’s slashing of the budgets to the Garda Traffic division. He accused Mr Shatter of “washing his hands” of the problem.
“The numbers in the Traffic division have been cut from 1,200 to 800. They don’t have enough patrol cars, enough resources, they don’t get enough sleep. As long as that shortfall continues, lives will be lost,” Mr Byrne said. Rejecting Mr Byrne’s comments, a spokesperson for the Justice Minister said an “erroneous impression that the level of enforcement is such that people can now take chances with road safety” must not be created.
“Garda enforcement remains high and determined,” the spokesperson added.
Overall, 190 people were killed on Irish roads throughout 2013, in 181 collisions.
Of those, 127 were drivers or passengers in cars; 31 were pedestrians; 27 were motorcyclists and five were cyclists.
Another finding of the report was 80pc of all people killed in road traffic collisions were male, and half of all driver fatalities were under the age of 34.