If we don't halt the rising carnage on our roads now, we will lose all the gains made in 10 years
It seems not a day passes without a fatal crash featuring on our news headlines. Already this year, 130 people have died violently on our roads; 18 more than for the same period last year.
So what's going on this year that is different to last year and in previous years? What has disrupted the downward trajectory in fatal crashes witnessed since the establishment of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) 10 years ago? At that time in 2006, there were 365 road deaths, a state of affairs which was intolerable. The Government intervened to stem the carnage.
When the RSA was established, the aim was to bring together all the players with influence in road safety to collaborate on a coherent strategy to reduce road deaths. Local authorities, An Garda Síochána, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (formerly the National Roads Authority), and the Emergency Services would work with the RSA to improve roads, toughen laws, increase enforcement, ensure better driving standards, safer vehicles and increase public awareness and education. Through all these combined forces, Ireland has succeeded in reducing fatalities from 365 to 164 last year. Our strategic aim is to reduce the number of deaths from road crashes down to 124 deaths per year or fewer by 2020. That's 10 deaths or fewer per month.