Saturday 24 March 2018

Deaths on Irish roads fall to an all-time low in 2017

Number of road deaths in Cork dropped by a third in 2017 compared to the previous year

Deaths on Irish roads fell to an all-time low last year
Deaths on Irish roads fell to an all-time low last year

Bill Browne

Provisional figures released by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have shown a significant decrease in the number of fatalities on Cork roads during 2017. 

The figures showed that 14 people died on Cork roads during 2017 a drop of 33% on the figure for 2016 of 21. 

The figures reflect what has been an encouraging year in terms of deaths on Irish roads, with the overall figure standing at 158 - making 2017 the safest year on Ireland's roads since road deaths were first recorded in 1959. 

The 2017 figures represent a 15% reduction on the figure of 186 for the previous year and was the first time that the total number of fatalities within a single calendar year had dropped below 160 since records began. 

They also showed there were 143 fatal crashes on Irish roads during 2017 compared to 174 in 2016 - a decrease of 18%. 

The number of driver deaths dropped by 17% year on year from 81 to 67, passengers by 32% from 38 to 26, pedestrians by 14% from 35 to 30 and motorcyclists (including pillion passengers) by 9% from 22 to 20 (9%). 

The only category to see an increase in fatalities was that of pedal cyclists, with 15 losing their lives in 2017 compared to 10 in 2017 - a 50%  rise. 

Commenting on the statistics Transport Minister Shane Ross said it was "very encouraging" to see that the upward trend in road deaths recorded in 2017 reversed. 

He said the combined focus on improved legislation, greater enforcement and targeted road safety campaigns had "all played their part in saving lives." 

"But, while it was heartening to see that 2017 was the lowest year on record for road deaths, this is not good enough. We need to continue our efforts if we are to achieve the objective of reducing fatalities to 124 by 2020. Ultimately, our aim should be zero deaths on our roads," said Minister Ross. 

"It's obvious that better road traffic legislation saves lives. I implore all members of the Oireachtas to allow the unimpeded passage of the nee Road Traffic Bill so that its life saving measures can be introduced without delay," he added. 

He also pointed out that greater Garda enforcement had resulted in higher detection figures, welcoming the commitment that the 10% increase in the traffic corps seen in 2017 would be repeated this year. 

Assistant Garda Commissioner Michael Finn expressed his thanks to all drivers who "slowed down, wore safety belts, put away their mobile phones and, most importantly, did not drink or take drugs and drive" during 2017. 

"All road users played a part in making 2017 the safest year to date - but we can never be complacent and we can always do more to reduce road fatalities further," he said. "One road death is one to many."

The figures reveal:

  • In 2017 there were 158 fatalities in 143 fatal collisions on Irish roads.
  • This was compared to 186 lives lost in 174 fatal collisions during 2016.
  • The highest risk age groups in 2017 were those aged 66 and over (21% of fatalities), 16-25 year olds (21%) and those aged 26-35 (18%). This was a similar trend to 2016.
  • While there was a decrease in fatalities among drivers (-14), passengers (-12). pedestrians (-5) and motorcyclists (-2) compared to 2016, the number of pedal cyclists killed rose by 5.
  • The number of child fatalities dropped in 2017 to four compared to 10 in 2017
  • The figures showed that 19% of drivers and passengers killed were not wearing seatbelts.
  • March saw the highest number of fatalities (20), followed by July and November (17 each).
  • The highest number of fatalities occurred between 12pm - 4pm (39).
  • Monday saw the highest number of fatalities (37), followed by Sunday (32).
  • Dublin (23), Cork (14) and Mayo (12) recorded the highest number of fatalities in 2017 per county.