Higher road death toll bucks trend

Ireland diverted from European road safety trends last year with rising numbers of deaths here, according to a report.

The finding comes as a motorcyclist was killed yesterday morning in a collision with a truck in Dublin’s north inner city.

The man, a 40-year-old Polish national, was understood to have been part of a group of motorcyclists who were travelling home to Poland.

There have now been 73 the road fatalities this year, which is down significantly on the same period last year, when it stood at 97.

However, despite the downward trend so far this year, Ireland’s road death toll last year represented the seventh largest increase out of 32 countries in Europe.

There were 188 road fatalities in 2013, rising to a provisional total of 195 in 2014 — representing a rise of 3.7%, compared to a European average of -0.6%.

The Ninth Road Safety Performance Index Report said 2014 “was a bad year for road safety” given that an almost 7% decrease in deaths was needed to keep Europe on track for a targeted 50% reduction by 2020, from 2010 levels.

It said that while 18 countries registered a drop in road fatalities, 13, including Ireland, recorded an increase.

The figures in Ireland fell for seven years running, from a high of 395 in 2005, to 162 in 2012, but increased after that.

The report, compiled by the European Transport Safety Council, said that while Ireland’s death toll had reduced by 8% since 2010, it lagged significantly behind the European average of 18%.

The group, which advises the European Commission and European Parliament, found that Ireland was below average on the number of deaths based on its population — at 42 per million people in 2014, compared to the EU average of 51.

Road safety bosses and gardaí are hopeful of a significant reduction in 2015, with a 25% reduction so far. If that trend continued it would bring the year’s total to around 140.

The Polish man died when his bike, a 01 red Honda, collided with a truck at the junction of North Wall Quay and Castleforbes Road. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Garda forensic collision experts are examining if the bike hit the side of the truck and what events led to that.

Witnesses can contact Store Garda Station on 01 666 8000, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666111 or any Garda Station.

The safety council report said the commission estimated that across the EU around a quarter of all road deaths are alcohol related, although it did not have figures for Ireland.

It said a series of reports were due to be published in Ireland by the end of the year on all pre-crash factors, including alcohol and other drugs. The safety council report said that Ireland had one of the best records in falling numbers of people seriously injured in road crashes, with the third greatest drop since 2010.

Some 439 people were seriously injured in 2014, compared to 561 in 2010, a decrease of 22%. This compared to an average fall of 3% across all 32 countries.



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