Road deaths fell by 68% in last 10 years as RSA seek to tackle 'killer behaviours'

Road deaths fell by 68% in last 10 years as RSA seek to tackle 'killer behaviours'
RSA chairwoman, Liz O'Donnell

Deaths on Irish roads fell by more than two-thirds over the last 10 years, according to the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

Ireland's first road safety strategy was introduced in 1998 and during the same year, 458 deaths occurred on Irish roads, compared to 146 in 2018 – a 68% reduction.

The RSA's international conference in Dublin will be the precursor to the development of the next Government Road Safety Strategy that will run from 2021 until 2030.

The strategy is expected to address current and new road safety challenges including the impact of new technology, vulnerable road users, serious injuries and killer behaviours.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, and the RSA want the development of the new strategy to involve consultation with interested groups as well as an analysis of international experience and best practice.

Mr Ross said engaging with interested groups at a national, regional and local level is key in ensuring the success of the Government's current Road Safety Strategy 2013 to 2020.

RSA chairwoman, Liz O'Donnell, said the next strategy will have new elements to take account of a changing society, environment and lifestyles.

Ms O'Donnell said advances in technology will transform their capabilities and the climate change agenda will influence their endeavours.

"How citizens want to live their lives too, and a huge interest in health cities and public transportation modes must be accommodated. Cycling and walking must ascent the pecking order in terms of priority," she said.

RSA chief executive, Moyagh Murdock, said a small number of people continue to break the law and do not care about getting caught.

“Reducing fatalities on our roads is not getting any easier,” she said.

“As we take steps to develop the new strategy we need to consider all the factors at play in the coming years such as emerging technologies and new killer behaviours.”

While enforcement will continue to be a critical success factor there is still some way to go to achieving adequate levels of policing of road safety laws.

They are still dealing with the same 'killer behaviours' - drink-driving; drug-driving and driving without wearing a seatbelt.

Ms Murdock said emerging technologies will be used to identify recidivist drivers and pick them up on the roadside.

Speeding vehicles are also contributing more to the 'carbon footprint' and that can be considered when developing a new strategy.

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