Since 1959, 22,647 people have died on Irish roads and yesterday services were held throughout the country to mark world Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
Chairman of the Road Safety Authority, Gay Byrne, said the day should serve as a reminder to us all of just how vulnerable we are on the roads.
Mr Byrne said the day of remembrance allowed people to think of those whose lives have been tragically lost on Ireland’s roads, as well as the families devastated by their loss.
“The most poignant point is that these deaths, the devastation and trauma could have been prevented,” he said.
He also called on people to change their behaviour and take responsibility for their actions on the roads.
“I make a personal plea to you, to reflect on the risks you take and the risk you force on others,” he said.
Mr Byrne urged those able to shape and implement lifesaving policies to take practical actions that save lives and prevent injuries.
“The Irish public depend on you to show leadership and act in the interest of the greater good. There is no room for procrastination when dealing with people’s lives.”
A special interdenominational service took place in the Augustinian Church in Drogheda and a special Mass took place at Knock Shrine on in Co Mayo.
Special prayers were said during Catholic and Anglican services throughout Co Louth, with candles lit to remember victims. Members of the emergency services led prayers at church services that took place in a number of counties.
The PARC Road Safety Group (Promoting Awareness, Responsibility and Care on our roads), also asked people to remember people who were seriously injured on Irish roads.
PARC spokesperson Susan Grey thanked the gardaí and other safety workers who had helped reduce the number of deaths on our roads.
“We hope that they will be blessed with the courage, strength and perseverance to ensure that the best conditions are created in law and on our roads to safeguard our lives and our health,” said Ms Grey.
The day of remembrance was first initiated by the British charity Road Peace and it has been held every year – on the third Sunday of November – since it was adopted by the United Nations in 2005.
Garda figures show that 205 people have been killed on Irish roads this year up to last weekend.