THE horrific two-car crash in Co Donegal that claimed the lives of eight people was “absolutely shocking,” the Road Safety Authority said yesterday.
This year’s death toll on Irish roads increased to 111 over the weekend, with a total of 10 deaths since Friday. There were also separate road deaths in Galway and Tipperary.
RSA spokesperson Brian Farrell said that even with the accident in Co Donegal, the total number of road deaths was still below the 122 recorded over the same period last year.
Mr Farrell said he realised fall in road deaths would be cold comfort to the families of those who died in Donegal, but accidents involving multiple fatalities were now less common.
“Thankfully, crashes like the one in Donegal are becoming the exception but, having said that, it is an appalling loss of life,” he said.
He said the crash could only be compared to the fatal collision on the N7 near Innishannon, Co Cork, in September 2001, in which six people died.
Batt Coleman’s son, Conor (15) from Dunderrow, outside Kinsale, Co Cork, was a back-seat passenger in one of the two cars involved and died after breaking his neck in the impact.
Mr Coleman joined the RSA’s Crashed Lives Campaign to urge motorists and pedestrians to take extra care on the roads.
Mr Farrell said the Donegal road crash was another horrific reminder of how an everyday event could turn to tragedy in an instant.
“We would hope that, if anything comes out of an awful tragedy like this, it is that it would serve as a reminder to us all of just fragile our lives are and how using the roads really is the most dangerous thing we do every day,” he said.
Unfortunately, while there has been a sea change in our behaviour on the road, we would never reach a stage where it would be possible to have no fatalities.
“We will have days like these and the task for us is to make sure that they do not happen at the same level as they did around 10 years ago when we would be opening newspapers and reading about multiple fatalities on our roads on a Monday morning.”
Almost half of road deaths in 2009 happened at the weekend, with Sunday the most dangerous day of the week with 51 deaths.
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