78 people die on Irish roads in first six months of 2018

Dan Buckley

The number of people dying on the roads has risen again, reversing the downward trend of recent years.

Figures reveal 78 people died in the first six months of this year, an increase of two over the same period last year, marking a 3% rise. A further five people were killed up to July 9, bringing the total so far this year to 83.

According to a provisional review of road fatalities issued jointly by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána, most of the fatalities occurred on local, rural roads. Cork has seen the highest number of road deaths this year with 11, followed by Tipperary (seven) and Dublin (six).

Transport Minister Shane Ross said the figures were disappointing.

The Review of Fatal Collisions from January 1 to June 30, 2018 found that:

  • 39 drivers, 12 passengers, 18 pedestrians, three motorcyclists and six cyclists were killed on our roads up to June 30;
  • There has been a reduction in motorcyclist fatalities with 70% fewer deaths than for the same period last year;
  • The highest risk age group of drivers killed was 66 years and older;
  • Half of all fatalities happened between Friday and Sunday.

Chief Superintendent Finbarr Murphy of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, said: “I appeal to the public to act responsibly and practice good road safety habits.

“In particular, I would remind people of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is no longer acceptable in society to drink or take drugs and drive at any time of the year. No one has the right to put other people’s safety and lives in danger through their selfish actions.”

RSA CEO Moyagh Murdock echoed those sentiments, saying the statistics show it is the behaviour of road users on rural roads which poses the greatest danger to people.

“Simple changes in behaviour can help to save lives,” said Ms Murdock. “Wearing high-visibility clothing when walking or cycling, particularly in the hours of darkness, is essential to be being seen.

“In addition, I would urge all drivers and passengers to make sure that buckling their seatbelt is the first thing they do before setting off on a journey. Sadly, we continue to see fatalities where a vehicle occupant was not wearing a seatbelt and therefore had no protection in a collision.”

Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport Shane Ross said: “After seeing a reduction of 11% in the first half of 2017, that positive trend has been reversed in 2018. It shows the absolute need for ongoing vigilance by road users, a greater level of visible Garda presence on our roads and robust traffic legislation on our statute books.

“I welcome the passage of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2017 through the Dáil. This is a critical piece of legislation aimed at that small cohort of drivers who continue to engage in risky behaviour.”

This story originally appeared in the Irish Examiner

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