Last year saw the fewest fatalities on Irish roads since records began, according to figures from the gardaí and Road Safety Authority.
The RSA said its analysis of fatal collision reports supplied by gardai show there has been a 15% drop in road deaths in 2017 compared to 2016, and that the 158 fatalities from 143 crashes is the lowest since records began in 1959.
Previously, 2015 was the safest year on record when 162 deaths were recorded.
However, while there were year-on-year reductions in the number of driver, passenger, pedestrian, and motorcyclists killed in 2017, there was a 50% rise in the number of cyclist fatalities last year — with 15 killed on the roads last year, compared to 10 in 2016.
While welcoming the reduction, Moyagh Murdock, chief executive, RSA, warned that further drops in the fatality rate must be achieved if Ireland is to meet its targets.
“Ireland is still a long way off achieving its road safety targets as set out in the Government Road Safety Strategy 2013 to 2020,” Ms Murdock said.
“The strategy has set the task of making Ireland’s roads as safe as the best performing countries in the European Union, specifically to reduce road fatalities on Irish roads to 124 or fewer by 2020.
“This means there must be a further 22% reduction in road deaths, on 2017 figures, over the next three years. While this will be a challenging target to achieve given our mixed road safety performance since 2013, it’s one that we must all strive to achieve through our continued efforts to implement the 144 road safety measures contained in the strategy,” she said.
Transport Minister Shane Ross credited the decrease in road fatalities to a “combined focus on improved legislation, greater enforcement and road safety campaigns”.
“It’s obvious that better road traffic legislation saves lives.
“A vital tool in helping to reduce deaths and injury further is the new Road Traffic Bill (Amendment) 2017.
“I implore all members of the Oireachtas to allow its unimpeded passage so that its life saving measures can be introduced without delay,” he said.
Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn of the Garda National Roads Policing Unit said an additional 150 Traffic Corps members will be recruited in 2018.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved