independent

Friday 18 October 2019

15 road fatalities in Cork in the past 12 months

Bill Browne

Provisional figures released by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have shown a slight increase in the number of fatalities on Cork roads last year. The figures showed that 15 people lost their lives on Cork roads during 2018, one more than the total for 2017.

While the figure for Cork was up from the previous year, 2018 did see an overall reduction in the total number of fatalities on Irish roads, with 149 people losing their lives as a result of 142 fatal crashes up until 3pm on December 31. 

This represented a reduction of seven fatalities, or four per cent, from the 2017 total, making last year the safest year on Ireland's roads since road deaths were first recorded in 1959.  

This was the first time that the number of road fatalities within a single calendar year had dropped below 150 since records began. The number of driver deaths dropped slightly year-on-year from 65 to 63 (down three per cent), passengers from 26 to 21 (19 per cent), motorcyclists (including pillion passengers) from 20 to 15 (25 per cent) and pedal cyclists from 14 to 9 (35 per cent). 

The only category to see an increase in fatalities was that of pedestrians, with 41 losing their lives in 2018 compared to 31 in 2017 - an increase of 24 per cent. 

Commenting on the figures, Transport Minister Shane Ross said that while there was a marginal improvement in the figures for 2018, "they are not good enough." 

He said that speed "continues to kill", pointing out that more than 130,000 drivers were detected committing speeding offences during the course of 2018. 

"Drink-driving persists and unaccompanied learner drivers continue to break the law. Reckless road users cannot be allowed to ruin the lives of innocent others and their families," said Minister Ross. 

"In 2019, the crusade to improve road safety and save lives will accelerate," he pledged. 

RSA chairperson Liz O'Donnell said that 2018 saw the introduction of important road safety legislation that, if motorists comply with them, "will translate into lives saved and injuries prevented." 

She called for funding to enable An Garda Síochána roll out new smart-phone and in-vehicle technology that will allow individual Gardaí to check the licence and insurance status of drivers at the roadside.

"This technology facilitates the identification of a range of offences at the road side, in particular disqualified drivers, unaccompanied learner drivers and those driving uninsured. The introduction of this mobile technology will revolutionise road-traffic policing and needs to be given the highest priority in 2019," said Ms O'Donnell.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Dave Sheehan thanked the majority of road users who "acted responsibly" during 2018 and who supported initiatives such as the 'Slow Down Days' and the 'European Day Without a Road Death' (project Edward).

"Your behaviour has saved lives and I want to acknowledge that. However, there were drivers who refused to get the message and unfortunately learned the hard way," said Mr Sheehan.

These include the more than 130,000 divers fined for speeding, the almost 30,000 people detected using a mobile phone while driving and the 9,000 found to be driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

"As Garda numbers assigned to Road Policing Units in districts around the country increase in 2019, I can guarantee that people will see a greater Garda presence on the road," he promised.

"Whether there are any detections for traffic offences is entirely up to road users themselves," he added.

 

• In 2018 there were 149 fatalities in 142 fatal collisions on Irish roads.

• This represented a one per cent increase in the number of fatal collisions and a four per cent drop in the number of fatalities.

• Driver and passengers accounted for nearly three in five fatalities (56 per cent) in 2018.

• There was a marked increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities (up by 10) during 2018.

• May saw the lowest number of deaths (six), with April (17) and June (16) the highest.

• Sunday (32) was the most dangerous day, followed by Monday and Tuesday (22 each).

• Of the deaths that occurred on a Sunday, 13 (41 per cent) happened between the hours of midnight and 5am.

• Almost half of the total fatalities (47 per cent) happened over the weekend between Friday and Sunday.

Corkman

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