Sunday 22 July 2018

The safest year on our roads since records began

Last year was the safest year on Ireland's roads since road deaths were first recorded in 1959.

Provisional road collision statistics for 2017, has shown that there has been a 15% drop in road deaths in 2017 compared to 2016.

Up to the 31 December 2017 a total of 158 people lost their lives on Ireland's roads as a result of 143 fatal crashes, compared to 186 lives lost in 174 fatal crashes in 2016.

This represents 28 fewer fatalities or a 15% drop in deaths and 31 fewer fatal crashes or an 18% drop in fatal crashes. Previously, 2015 (with 162 deaths) was the safest year on record.

There were two fatalities in County Sligo in 2016 and two last year. There has been one fatality in County Leitrim for the past two years. The figures for Donegal were 10 and 6, the same as Galway.

The highest record figure was 23 in Dublin, up from 21 in 2016.

There were 14 deaths in Cork in 2017 down from 21 in 2016 there were 12 fatalities in Mayo in 2017 which was up from 4 in 2016.

Mr. Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism said: "It is very encouraging to see that we have reversed the upward trend in road deaths witnessed in 2016.

"The combined focus on improved legislation, greater enforcement and road safety campaigns all played their part in saving lives. But while it is 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.

"It's obvious that better road traffic legislation saves lives. A vital tool in helping to reduce deaths and injury further is the new Road Traffic Bill (Amendment) 2017. I implore all members of the Oireachtas to allow its unimpeded passage so that its life saving measures can be introduced without delay."

Minister Ross noted that greater enforcement had resulted in higher detection figures and welcomed the commitment from An Garda Siochana that the 2017 increase of 10% in the Traffic Corps will be repeated in 2018.

Minister Ross added: "It would also appear indisputable that the bravery of people like Gillian and Ronan Treacy in working with the RSA to show the devastation caused by reckless driving is making a real impact on the public consciousness. I thank them and all the road traffic victims groups who have campaigned so hard and so selflessly to make our roads safer."

Ms Liz O'Donnell, Chairperson of the RSA said: "While one death is one too many the only way we can measure success or failure in road safety is by recording the number of deaths on our roads.

"The drop in deaths in 2017 is a very welcome development. Whatever the reason for this decline, the main factor was ultimately as a result of the decision of every road user to change their behaviour for the better.

"For this I thank you. However, my great concern is that this downward trend will not be sustained in 2018 and beyond. There must be a concerted effort on the part of Government,

Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn, Garda National Roads Policing Unit, An Garda Síochána said, "I would also like to express my thanks to all the drivers who slowed down, wore their safety belt, put the mobile away and most importantly did not drink or take drugs and drive. All road users played a part in making this the safest year on record - but we can never be complacent and we can always do more to reduce road fatalities further."

Sligo Champion