Car crash deaths have increased for the first time in eight years, road safety chiefs have warned.
Provisional figures show 189 people lost their lives on the roads this year - up 17% from 162 last year.
It is the first year since 2005 that road deaths have risen.
Gay Byrne, chairman of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), said all road safety agencies needed to work harder to reverse the worrying trend.
"We have consistently warned that the greatest danger we face on the roads is complacency and, unfortunately, in 2013 we have as a society dropped our guard," he said.
"As a result we have managed to kill 27 more people this year compared to last.
"It's a stark way to put it but it's the truth."
Mr Byrne said all road users needed to be more vigilant, but the road safety czar admitted those charged with reducing road deaths also needed to up their game.
"We must get back on track and reverse the increase in deaths," he said.
"This means all agencies responsible for road safety must push harder to implement all 144 actions contained in the new Government Road Safety Strategy, which was launched earlier in 2013.
"But critically it means that all of us must accept greater responsibility by becoming custodians and champions for safety on the road.
"By doing this we can save lives and prevent injuries."
A third of those who died on the roads during the year were pedestrians (30), five were cyclists and 27 were motorcyclists.
Nearly twice as many motorcyclists died during 2013 compared with last year.
In almost one in five fatal road crashes, no seatbelt was worn.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar urged motorists to pay special attention to bikers, cyclists and pedestrians.
"This Government is determined to reverse the increase in road casualties witnessed this year and to improving safety overall on our roads," he said.
Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey said a policing plan will be put in place over the coming year targeting killer behaviour prominent in road deaths.
"Drivers in particular need to understand that they run the increasing risk of losing their driving licences in 2014 if they continue to commit road traffic offences," he said.
"Of course it is important to remember that the reason behind all the enforcement is not to put drivers off the road. It is to save lives and prevent injuries."