2015 had second-lowest level of road deaths

Road fatalities dropped in 2015 to their second-lowest level on record, despite the worst December figures in eight years.

While there was a dramatic decline in the number of children dying on our roads, there was a 28% increase in fatalities among people aged 16 to 25.

Official figures show seat belts had not been worn in three out of 10 driver and passenger deaths in 2015. The Road Safety Authority said that four out of 10 driver deaths were single-vehicle accidents, with 45% of driver deaths involving men aged 16 to 35.

Eight out of 10 driver deaths occurred on rural roads with speed limits of 80 km/h or 100km/h.

The RSA Provisional Review of Fatalities report for 2015 shows:

  • There were 165 fatalities, compared to 193 in 2014; 188 in 2013; and 162 in 2012.
  • Fatalities were the second-lowest since records began in 1959 and compared to 472 deaths in 1997.
  • There were 75 driver deaths, compared to 76 in 2014; 27 passenger deaths (39 in 2014), 32 pedestrian deaths (41), 22 motorcyclist deaths (24) and nine pedal cyclist deaths (13).
  • Overall fatalities fell in the Southern region (44 to 27), South Eastern (32 to 18), and Dublin (29 to 17), but rose in the Eastern region (31 to 40), Northern (26 to 31), and Western (31 to 32).

“It is difficult to describe 2015 as a success when 165 people lost their lives on the roads after the carnage we witnessed in the final weeks of the year,” said RSA chairperson Liz O’Donnell.

But she said the figures were the only way to measure success and it was important “people know progress is being made”.

Chief Superintendent Mark Curran of the Garda National Traffic Bureau welcomed the reduction, but noted that 20 people lost their lives in December, with 15 road deaths in the last two weeks alone.

“This is the worst December for road deaths since 2007,” he said. “This marks a significant increase in the number of families and friends suffering over the Christmas and new year period due to the loss of a loved one.”

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