Sunday 18 August 2019

Four in five crash deaths are on rural roads - with Sunday the most dangerous day of week

Safety drive: From left, Assistant Commissioner David Sheahan, Prof Denis Cusack, Liz O’Donnell of the RSA, Garda Mark Murphy, driver Conor Creaby and RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock
Safety drive: From left, Assistant Commissioner David Sheahan, Prof Denis Cusack, Liz O’Donnell of the RSA, Garda Mark Murphy, driver Conor Creaby and RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

Nearly four out of every five road deaths happen on rural roads, and more than one-in-three people killed last year was not wearing a seat belt.

Sunday is the most dangerous day on Irish roads.

These are some of the stark statistics issued by gardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) in an appeal for drivers to act responsibly over the August bank holiday weekend.

A review of figures from January 1 to July 28 this year shows that a total of 89 people died in 80 collisions.

This represents a 3pc increase in crashes, and a 7pc jump in deaths on the same period last year.

So far this year, 40pc of fatalities have happened on a Sunday or a Monday, while 36pc occurred on a Thursday or a Friday.

Speed, intoxication, non- wearing of seat belts and mobile phone use are seen as major contributors to crashes.

The message from RSA chairperson Liz O'Donnell is that a "stubborn cohort of drivers" is still not getting the message.

Behaviours

"We are all driving too fast. The vast majority of fatalities occurred on rural roads at speeds over 80km per hour. That's a clear indication that people are driving too fast," she said.

"There are the same killer behaviours - drink-driving, drug-impaired driving and not wearing a seat belt - despite years of road awareness campaigns.

"Sunday night is the most dangerous time to be on the road in rural Ireland.

"We're hoping to stay within our targets for reducing road fatalities.

"We can't rest on our laurels.

"We have to continue to give out the message and awareness of safety on the roads, and reducing those killer behaviours."

While figures for road deaths are currently six higher this year compared with last year, the RSA hopes that numbers will fall if more people heed the message about road safety.

The overall trend in deaths has been downward over the last decade.

There were 156 deaths on our roads in 2017 compared with 338 in 2007.

Assistant Garda Commissioner David Sheahan echoed Ms O'Donnell's view that some motorists are continuing to drive irresponsibly.

"Some driver behaviours aren't changing in the way I would expect," he said, revealing that in a live nationwide exercise yesterday between 8.40am and 12 noon 27 people were detected driving without insurance.

Gardaí have often been criticised for placing Go-Safe speed detection units on motorways and major roads where there are proportionately fewer road deaths.

Mr Sheahan said the statistics show that only 17pc of fatal collisions happened within Go-Safe speed enforcement zones.

He added that speed detector vans would now be used more often on roads where fatality numbers are higher - such as rural roads.

Irish Independent

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