A town the same size as Tralee has effectively been wiped out because of the failure of motorists to ensure each other’s safety on Irish roads.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar issued the graphic warning during World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims yesterday — while two more people died in motor accidents over the weekend.
Figures detailed on the special commemoration day, show 23,405 people have died on the roads since records were kept in 1959.
The figure — which is more than one death every 24 hours — is the equivalent of a town the same size as Tralee being wiped off the map.
In addition, since 1977, 76,129 have suffered serious life-changing injuries after surviving road accidents.
Remember today is World Day of Remembrance for road traffic victims. Drive with care on our roads.— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) November 17, 2013
And, coming after two more deaths in Leitrim and Galway in the past 48 hours, Mr Varadkar said the situation must act as a wake-up call to those putting people’s lives at risk.
“Since 1959, 23,405 people have died on our roads in tragic yet preventable circumstances. This is roughly the same as the population of Tralee in Co Kerry.
“Behind every tragedy lies a traumatised family and a shattered community,” he said.
Road Safety Authority chairman, Gay Byrne, said people who think “it will never happen to me” are missing the point entirely.
“For thousands of families around the country it has happened to them and now their lives are forever changed as a result.
“We can save lives on our roads, and we can make our roads as safe as the safest roads in the world, but we can’t do it unless we all work together and take responsibility for our behaviour,” he said.
The Road Safety Authority, the Garda Síochána, local authorities and other emergency services are united in a call for action. Since the start of this year, 167 people have died on Irish roads, 22 more than during the same period in 2012.
On Saturday, a pedestrian in her 60s died after being struck by a car outside Mohill village in Co Leitrim.
A separate single-car accident in Barna, Co Galway, involving another victim in their 60s led to a second death on Sunday morning.
Anyone with information on either incident is asked to contact Carrick-on- Shannon Garda Station on 071-9650510, Salthill Garda Station on 091-514720 or the garda confidential line on 1800-666-111.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved