THE Road Safety Authority (RSA) has warned that too many drink-fuelled pedestrians are losing their lives by staggering in front of vehicles.
The chief executive of the RSA Noel Brett made his comments as a new Europe-wide report into the death rate among vulnerable road users showed Ireland had performed better than most other countries in the EU.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) report, published yesterday, showed at least 15,300 pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists were killed in the EU in 2009, including 169,000 since 2001.
Deaths in the category of unprotected road users decreased at a lower rate than for vehicle occupants, the report also showed.
Ireland had the eighth best rate in reducing pedestrian deaths in the first 10 years of this century, although the report notes: “In Ireland, drivers have slowed down markedly in cities. But the mean speed is still 54km/h with 53% of vehicles exceeding the limit.
“In residential areas, the mean speed is now 35km/h with only 4% of vehicles exceeding 50km/h, suggesting that there is scope to follow many other European cities by reducing the speed limit to 30km/h.”
The RSA said in the same 10-year period, recorded deaths of pedal cyclists and motorcyclists dropped 75% and 66%, respectively while, last year, fatalities among motorcyclists fell by 32% compared with the previous year. Pedestrian deaths were down 54% in the last decade.
Mr Brett said people planning a night’s drinking should also plan a safe way home.
“We’ve had a continuing problem in this country with drunk pedestrians. Tragically the scenarios are typically as follows: People so drunk they stagger into the middle of the road or collapse on the road and are then run over by a motorist, who just didn’t see them.
“All too often it is people walking in the middle of the road or on a dual carriage way or motorway,” he said.
“Our advice is simple, if heading out and you plan to drink, please ensure you have arranged your transport home in advance.”
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