Motorists: this New Year make the resolution to put your phone away
As the year comes to a close, road safety campaigners can be grateful that fatalities and serious injuries on our roads have decreased over the previous year. This reverses a worrying trend for the two previous years, 2013 and 2014, which showed an increase in fatal road crashes. Really significant and measurable progress has been achieved in making Irish roads safer since the late nineties and, in particular, since the setting up of the Road Safety Authority in 2006.
This new authority brought together all the relevant agencies and stakeholders in road safety so as to develop a coherent and strategic approach. And this approach has worked. In 1998, for example, there were 458 fatalities on Irish roads; last year there were 193. As I write this, there are over 30 fewer fatalities on the roads, compared to last year. There may even be an opportunity for us all to make it the safest on record.
While we can welcome that reduction in fatalities, it is no comfort to the families who are mourning the loss of a loved one in a car crash this Christmas. Or indeed, for hundreds of people who have suffered serious life-altering injuries and must endure pain discomfort and disability facing into a New Year.