Crackdown on speeding and drink drivers stops rising road death toll
A major Garda road safety crackdown has dramatically reduced fatalities after 2019 threatened to deliver a 20pc-plus increase in traffic deaths.
Deaths are now just 2.5pc above the level for the comparable period last year - 81 compared to 79 fatalities for January-July 2018.
That represents a remarkable turnaround as by the end of May the total was already 20pc above the comparable fatality figure for 2018.
A grim June bank holiday weekend where eight people died in various accidents over a single week significantly contributed to the overall toll.
By June 5, 71 people had died this year - 20pc or 12 deaths higher than for the same period in 2018.
Over the past six weeks, gardaí, the Road Safety Authority and safety groups have focused on emphasising the safe driving message - and cracking down on both speeding and drink-driving.
There has been a major increase in detections of drink driving throughout the State.
One county - Kildare - has shown an alarming 86pc increase in the number of motorists found to be over the limit while driving between 2016-2018.
The fatality rate is now just 2.5pc above the comparable 2018 road fatality level - with last year ranking as the safest year on roads since records began.
Of the 81 deaths recorded this year, 45 have involved drivers, 14 involved pedestrians, 10 were passengers and six each were pedal cyclists and motorcyclists.