Thursday 27 October 2016

Revealed: Ireland's startling new road death figures ahead of Bank Holiday weekend

Eddie Cunningham, Motoring Editor

Published 28/04/2016 | 11:02

Motorists are being urged to put down the mobile phone
Motorists are being urged to put down the mobile phone

MOTORISTS were today urged to slow down this Bank Holiday weekend as startling new figures show speed is contributing to more than 60 road deaths a year.

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Road Safety Authority chairperson Liz O’Donnell claimed we have a huge problem with speed and described new research published for the first time today as “very worrying”.

It shows that speed contributed to the deaths of 322 people over a five-year period – 64 lives lost on average each year.

Based on extensive and forensic data compiled in Garda investigations, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) report gives an unprecedented insight into the reasons behind the deaths of so many people between 2008 and 2012.

The stark details are published by the RSA to coincide with a major conference in Dublin on speeding.

Compiled by the RSA’s research manager Maggie Martin, they show how speed was a contributory factor in 274 (32pc) of 867 collisions studied.

It also reveals how most of those who died (84pc) were out socially when tragedy struck. T

he report reveals how 43pc of speed-related collisions happened between 9pm and 4am, with 46pc of them in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings.

While speed may not have been the only cause, it played a significant part in the 274 accidents but was the main reason for 52 accidents in which 54 people lost their lives (48 drivers, five passengers and one pedestrian).

Overall, 322 people died where speed was involved, claiming the lives of 207 drivers (including motorcyclists), 100 passengers, two cyclists and 13 pedestrians.

An additional 74 were seriously injured.The analysis shows the majority (91pc) of drivers were men but half of all who were at the wheel were aged 16-to-24.

The report also finds that:

*Other factors involved in the speed-related crashes were alcohol, illicit or prescription drugs, distraction and inexperience.*Most drivers lost control (70pc) while 6pc were incorrectly overtaking and a further 6pc were on the wrong side of the road at the time of the accident.

*109 of those killed were in a single-vehicle collision.*The five counties with most speed-linked collisions were Donegal (8.4pc), Cork (8pc), Wexford (8pc), Cavan (7pc) and Galway (7pc).

*A third (32pc) of drivers had no insurance.

*Two-thirds (68pc) had a licence; 7pc were driving while disqualified.

*Five drivers with a full licence had a record of endorsements or penalty points for speeding.

*In the 274 collisions involving speed, 76pc of drivers were at the wheel of a car, almost a fifth (17pc) were on a motorcycle and 7pc in a van or HGV.

*Over a third of the vehicles in these collisions were between 10 and 14 years old.

*Twenty nine (11pc) of the vehicles were in poor or un-roadworthy condition.

Maggie Martin said the level of un-roadworthy cars show a “blatant disregard” for their safety and that of other road users.

In an emotive address to the conference, she said: “Said so many people are losing control of their cars on bends because they are driving too fast.

“Cars were hurtling out of control, they were breaking through hedges, they somersaulted, they were gouging the tarmac, they were ejecting their drivers and passengers.

“In many cases they were stopped with severe impact with a tree or a wall. If they hit another vehicle they are emeshed in that vehicle. It is carnage.

”Some drivers, including many motorcyclists, overtook two and three vehicles at a time. Many slammed headlong into innocent drivers coming in the opposite direction.”

She described the behaviour of some as “insane”.

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