Crackdown cuts road carnage, but car deaths jump in Border county
STARK regional differences in tackling the carnage on our roads are revealed today in a major report from the Road Safety Authority (RSA).
It shows that while road deaths have fallen in most counties, two have failed to reduce the number over six years.
In the first detailed analysis of fatal collisions nationwide, the Road Traffic Deaths report shows the number of people killed in Cavan rose by 20pc between 2006 and 2012, while it stayed the same in Offaly.
This is during a period when road deaths have broadly fallen across the country with fatalities down by an average of 57pc.
There were no road deaths last year in Leitrim and Laois.
The reason for the overall decrease nationwide is said to be the changed behaviour of motorists, largely brought about by increased garda enforcement and a crackdown on drink-driving.
There is no official explanation for the increased deaths in Cavan, though possible reasons includes large volumes of traffic travelling through the county to and from the North and fewer dual carriageways and motorways, which are considered far safer roads.
The report examined the average number of deaths in each county over three years, 2004 to 2006, when the first road safety strategy was in force.
It then compared the baseline data against the period 2007-2012 when the second strategy was in place. It shows:
• Deaths fell by an average of 57pc across all counties between 2006 and 2012. The number killed fell from 378 to 161 last year.
• The best-performing counties were Leitrim and Laois, which had no deaths last year.
• Other high-performing counties were Kildare (down from 19 to one), Monaghan (down from 12 to two) and Clare (down from 10 to two).
• The numbers killed remained static in Offaly with seven deaths, and rose in Cavan from eight to 10, or 20pc.
• Eighty-one pedestrians were killed in 2007, which fell to 28 last year, or a drop of 65pc. Fatalities among cyclists fell from 15 to eight, or 47pc.
• Nineteen motorcyclists were killed, down from 33, while 32 people in goods vehicles died in 2006, which fell to nine last year.
RSA chief Noel Brett said the overall reduction showed what could be achieved when drivers changed their behaviour.
He added that a target to reduce fatalities to no more than 252 a year was achieved in 2009, three years early.
"All it takes to make a difference is for one person to say, 'I'm going to change my behaviour on the roads so that I can keep myself and others safe'," he said.
Ireland is among the top five safest EU countries in which to drive, with 47 deaths per million population compared with an average of 60.
However, the number killed on the roads so far this year has almost doubled. While 2013 is only four weeks old, 17 people have died compared with nine in the same period last year.