It must be a cause for concern that 47 people have been killed on our roads this year.
This is a considerable reversal of the very positive trends of recent years.
The number of road fatalities fell by an average of 57% in the past five years and road deaths have fallen every year since 2006. Last year 162 people died on Irish roads, 24 fewer fatalities than the previous year when 186 people died and 51 fewer than in 2010 when 212 people died.
Already this year the toll is 17 higher than it was for the comparable period last year. If this escalation continues this year’s figures will be the worst in years and represent a considerable setback in a project that had been a wonderful success because of the efforts of all involved.
What has happened to turn the tide? Have we become careless and complacent? Has policing been reduced? Have roads deteriorated and become more dangerous? Have cutbacks made it more difficult to continue road safety education programmes?
All of these were in evidence in recent years, but the most important element in making our roads safer is free and still available — driver responsibility. If we all continue the good habits of recent years then we can reverse this year’s worrying trend.
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