Monday 16 September 2019

Increase in the number of road deaths this year

Cork has third highest number of fatalities in 2019

Bill Browne

Provisional figures released by the Gardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have revealed  seven people have lost their lives on Cork roads, so far this year.

The figures, which cover the period for January 1 to July 28 this year, showed that Cork has had the third highest number of fatalities on its road this year, with only Tipperary (8) and Dublin (9) recording a higher number. 

Nationally, the figures have shown that so far this year 89 people have lost their lives in 80 fatal collisions on Irish roads compared to 83 deaths in 78 fatal collisions over the same period in 2018.  This represents a 7% increase in fatalities and a 3% increase in fatal collisions when compared to the same period last year.  Of the total number of fatalities 49 were drivers, 10 passengers, 15 pedestrians, nine motorcyclists and six pedal cyclists.  The report showed that drivers and passengers accounted for 66% of fatalities to date this year, with the number of drivers losing their lives increasing by 11 and motorcyclists by two when compared to the same period in 2018. 

Rural roads with a speed limit of 80kph or higher accounted for 79% of fatalities, with more than a third of drivers who lost their lives found not to be wearing a seatbelt.  The provisional statistics showed that Sunday was the most dangerous day on Irish roads accounting for 21 fatalities.

January and February accounted for the most fatalities with 16 deaths in each month and the highest number of fatalities (25) occurred between the hours of 6pm and 10pm.  Speed, driving under then influence of alcohol or drugs, non-wearing of seatbelts and the use of mobile phones are seen as being among the main contributors to road fatalities. RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdoch described the figures contained within the report as 'alarming' saying that the vast majority of deaths and injuries on our roads were 'preventable'. 

"Clearly, the progress we have made in road safety over the past two years is at risk of stalling. If we want to prevent any more tragedies on our roads we need to focus our attention on where the greatest risk is," said Ms Murdoch.  RSA chairperson Liz O'Donnell said there was a "stubborn cohort of drivers" that were still not getting the message.  "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," said Ms O'Donnell.

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

Assistant Garda commissioner David Sheahan pointed out that under the Garda Enforcement Strategy (2019) speeding detections were up by 48%, non-wearing of seatbelts by 27%, driver distractions (such as mobile phone use) by 11% and driving under the influence by 8%.  He said that despite these figures it was clear that diver behaviour "still had some way to go."  "We are urging motorists to slow down, be aware of speed limits,  drive at a speed appropriate to the road conditions and never ever drive while under the influence of an intoxicant. The ability of motorists to control their vehicle and to anticipate and avoid the unexpected is reduced when driving at higher speeds and driving while under the influence of an intoxicant," he said. 

The members of the Roads Policing Unit will continue over the second half of 2019 to target non-compliant drivers in order to make the roads safer for all," he pledged.

• At least three people were hospitalised after multiple serious crashes in Cork over the Bank Holiday weekend.  From Friday night there were at least five bad crashes across Cork.