Monday 18 February 2019

Quarter of road death victims 'not wearing a seatbelt': report

Provisional figures show decline in deaths overall, but number of pedestrian fatalities increased dramatically

Seatbelt - over a quarter of those killed on the road weren't wearing one
Seatbelt - over a quarter of those killed on the road weren't wearing one

RSA Expert

Provisional road-collision statistics for 2018 show we continued to improve our road safety performance in 2018 by recording a 4pc drop in road deaths.

That makes it the safest year since road deaths were first recorded in 1959.

Tragically, however, a total of 149 people lost their lives as a result of 142 fatal crashes.

That compares with 156 lives lost in 141 fatal crashes in 2017.

This represents seven fewer fatalities - or a 4pc drop.

Drivers and passengers accounted for 56pc of fatalities with vulnerable road users involved in 44pc of deaths.

When broken down by road user, 62 drivers, 21 passengers, 42 pedestrians, 16 motorcyclists and nine cyclists were killed in 2018.

There was a decrease in driver (-3) and passenger fatalities (-5): a fall from 91 in 2017 to 83 in 2018 (-9pc).

There was also a reduction in motorcyclist fatalities (-5) and cyclists (-5).

However, there was an increase in pedestrian fatalities (+11).

Where information was available it was reported that just more than a quarter of all drivers and passengers killed were reported as not wearing seatbelts (28pc).

Just more than one-third of fatalities occurred between 12pm and 8pm. There were 30 between midnight and 6am (20pc). Of these, 70pc occurred on Saturdays and Sundays.

Sunday (32pc) was the most dangerous day of the week in 2018. In fact, almost half of all fatalities occurred from Friday to Sunday in 2018 (47pc).

April was the most dangerous month for road users last year with 17 fatalities recorded, but June and November (16 deaths in each month) and December (15) were also particularly lethal.

The monthly average for 2018 was 12 fatalities. May was the safest month with six deaths.

The highest numbers of fatalities in 2018 were in Dublin and Cork (16 in each), Tipperary (11) and Donegal (10).

Dublin (12) had highest number of vulnerable road user (pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists) fatalities followed by Cork (7) and Tipperary (6).

Cork (8) and Mayo (7) had highest number of driver fatalities. Clare and Limerick (3 in each) had highest number of passenger fatalities.

The highest-risk age group in 2018 included those aged 66 and older (23pc of all road users killed), followed by those aged 16-25 (18pc) and 56-65 (17pc).

In 2018 there were reductions in deaths among those aged 16-25 years (-6), 26-35 (-10) and 36-45 (-7).

When looked at by location the provisional statistics highlight that two out of every three fatal crashes occurred in rural areas.

While there have been decreases in the numbers being killed across the majority of categories in 2018, the number of pedestrian deaths is a cause for concern.

Last year 42 pedestrians lost their lives on our roads; 11 more than for all of 2017.

It is difficult to say what factors are behind those fatalities because the garda investigations are still under way.

However, looking at the provisional casualty data 29 of the pedestrian fatalities were male and 13 were female.

The age groups with the highest risk were those aged 66 and older (15) and those aged 46-55 (7).

More pedestrian fatalities occurred in the hours of darkness (24) compared to during daylight (17). Twenty (48pc) pedestrian deaths occurred between 8pm and 8am.

Our advice to anyone out walking is to realise that as a pedestrian you're amongst the most vulnerable of all road users.

So take steps to protect yourself.

Be visible.

Allow enough time to cross the road.

Drivers also have a critical role to play too.

They need to slow down and always expect a cyclist or pedestrian around the next bend.

The roll out of more 30kmh zones in towns and cities by local authorities is also vital to ensure there are safer environments for our most vulnerable road users.

Pedestrian safety, particularly the safety of older persons, will be a key priority for the RSA in 2019.

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