Monday 19 March 2018

Remember this weekend safety starts on your own doorstep

Our Road Safety Authority expert says for every road death 100 people are seriously affected. He picks over some frightening facts and figures and warns: we have to change

Taking care on the road
Taking care on the road

ROAD safety is a national problem but we have to tackle it at local level.

It is, basically, about keeping our communities safe. We share the roads with our family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and other members of the community.

Last year, 190 people lost their lives. That was the first increase since 2005. The biggest impact these deaths had was at local level. It's said that for every road death, more than 100 people are affected. Each loss sends shockwaves through a community.

Earlier in the year, we produced a preliminary report that examined these collisions. The main points that jumped out were an increase in driver deaths, up from 78 to 95; an increase in passenger deaths, up from 27 to 32; and a big jump in motorcycle deaths, up from 16 to 27.

The report also showed that one-in-five drivers were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

We have just published a new report that examines road deaths in each county last year and over the period 2007 to 2013.

It shows that last year's national increase in deaths was driven by increases in the number of deaths in Tipperary (up from 4 to 12); Monaghan (up from 2 to 8), Kildare (up from 1 to 15), Kerry (up from 7 to 13) and Dublin (up from 12 to 19).

In terms of the absolute number of fatalities, Cork and Dublin were the counties with the poorest road safety record last year; 20 people lost their lives on Cork roads, and 19 on Dublin roads.

When you look at fatalities as a proportion of the population in the county, the report shows that, in 2013, Monaghan, Donegal and Kerry had the highest fatality rates proportionate to population.

Clare, Carlow, Leitrim, Longford and Waterford were the counties with the fewest fatalities with two road deaths in each county.

The highest number of car-user deaths last year was in Cork (14), followed by Donegal, Kerry and Kildare where nine lost their lives. Worryingly, Cork doesn't seem to have made any progress in reducing the high number of driver deaths over the past seven years.

The highest number of pedestrian fatalities occurred in Dublin (7), Galway (4) and Mayo (3). Finally, the highest number of motorcyclist fatalities occurred in counties Kildare, Meath, four in each county; Dublin and Wicklow, three in each county.

When we are planning road safety campaigns we always use five years of data because it's difficult to draw conclusions on trends from anything less.

So the report looks at road deaths in every county over the past seven years.

Over this period, fatalities nearly halved nationally. Clare (-83) and Louth (-75) recorded the biggest fall. Kildare (+15) and Monaghan (+33) are the only counties where deaths increased.

Change comes from the local level. In every community, town and county, we need to accept greater responsibility for our own safety and that of others in our area.

We can all make a huge difference when we make road safety a real priority. Look what happened in the years 2006 to 2012.

All it takes to make a difference is for one person to say: "I'm going to change."

Indo Motoring

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