Road safety chiefs aim to cut number of pedestrian deaths by up to 45%

MOTORING safety chiefs intend tackling planning issues, the design of cars and the education of kids in a bid to curb the high number of pedestrian deaths on Irish roads.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) yesterday launched a pedestrian safety action plan which it is hoped will reduce pedestrian deaths by as much as 45% over the next three years.

As many as one in four deaths on Irish roads are pedestrian according to the latest figures. Between the years 2004 to 2006, there was an average 72 pedestrians killed each year. In 2008, the number fell to 47.

The action plan is also seeking advice from the public and others about ways to prevent pedestrian deaths.

Launching the initiative yesterday, Road Safety Authority chief executive Noel Brett said: “The bigger picture or the long-term trend indicates that there has been a steady rise in deaths since 2003.”

Actions to be taken by the authority will include liaising with schools to identify assigned walking routes for schoolchildren, as well as on-road training for five to eight-year-olds in a bid keep them safe and raise awareness.

Road safety chiefs are also identifying high-risk locations for pedestrians.

Traffic-calming measures will be encouraged at appropriate spots, while an increase in pedestrian zones will also be recommended in towns and cities that are identified as having a high pedestrian death rate.

The road safety body also intends reducing the number of pedestrian injuries on roads by as much as 30% or better by the year 2012.

Pedestrian injuries account for one eight of all road injuries.

“The objective of the action plan is to support the promotion of walking as a safe, desirable and viable mode of transport and reduce the number and severity of collisions involving pedestrians occurring on Irish roads,” added the authority yesterday.

Some 43 separate actions have been identified to reduce the high numbers of pedestrian fatalities.

Others include pushing for stronger rules on planning to ensure pedestrian safety is a consideration for granting planning permission.

The organisation also wants greater street lighting in built-up areas, which are seen as danger spots for those who are walking.

Furthermore, it is hoped that new EU rules about the design of the front of vehicles to help reduce the severity of injuries will be taken up by the motor industry.

The action plan follows an analysis of pedestrian collision and casualty statistics and examination of the main causes of pedestrian fatalities and injury.

Experts have also drawn on the experience of countries implementing best practice in the road safety initiative.

lPedestrians, drivers and other interest group are being given nearly two months up until June 22 to add their opinions to the action plan and obtain details on the initiative on the RSA website — www.rsa.ie.


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