Road traffic fatalities have increased by 15% in Ireland this year according to figures published by the Road Safety Authority (RSA).
187 people lost their lives on the roads in 175 fatal crashes in 2016, compared to 162 lives lost in 155 fatal crashes in 2015. This represents a 15% increase in fatalities and a 13% increase in fatal crashes.
In total, 82 drivers and 37 passengers lost their lives. This represents 11 more driver deaths and 10 more passenger deaths compared to 2015. In terms of vulnerable road users, there were 35 pedestrians, 21 motorcyclists and 10 pedal cyclists killed. Vulnerable road users represented over a third (35%) of all those killed
July 2016 was the most dangerous month for road users in 2016 with 21 fatalities recorded, but May and October were also particularly dangerous with 20 deaths recorded in each month. The monthly average to the 30th of December 2016 was 16 fatalities per month. The highest number of fatalities in 2016 were in Dublin (21), Cork (21) and Limerick (16)
Approximately 1 in 5 drivers and passengers were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision.
Minister Shane Ross, commenting on the end of year report said: “I am very saddened by such a huge loss of life on our roads in 2016. I am also acutely aware that these are more than just numbers. They represent someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, father or mother. If anything is to come from such a tragic loss of life it is that it should serve as a reminder to us all that the road is a shared space, and that we have a duty of care towards each other every time we use the road.”
“I look forward to the commencement of the provisions contained in the new Road Traffic Act 2016 which was signed into law by the President this week. This new Act introduces a series of reforms to deal with drug driving; written off vehicles; mutual recognition of driver disqualifications between Ireland and the UK; uninsured drivers; and a new optional 20km/h speed limit in built-up areas among other measures. I am confident that these new road safety measures will go some way towards improving road safety in 2016.”
Ms. Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson, Road Safety Authority, said “2016 has been a very bad year for road safety in Ireland. I am very concerned that the increase in deaths is part of a broader trend which has seen road deaths rise in three out of the last four years. This is unacceptable and we must all redouble our efforts to prevent more needless loss of life.”
Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn, An Garda Síochána remarked “An Garda Síochána will be putting in place a comprehensive policing plan in 2017. This plan will focus on the big four killer behaviours that featured consistently in the RSA & Garda Pre-Crash Reports that were published in 2016 following analysis of forensic collision investigation files. These behaviours are Speeding, Drink Driving, Non-Seatbelt wearing and using a mobile phone while driving. We will also be factoring the findings from the 2016 road collisions analysis report into our enforcement activity. This targeted enforcement strategy will also be aided by a 10% increase in the number of Garda personnel in the Roads Policing Unit, which will allow for greater monitoring of road user behaviour in 2017.”
“In spite of the progress we have made in road safety over the past decade we are still seeing the same three killer behaviours, of alcohol, speed and non-seatbelt wearing, or more commonly a combination of all three having a devastating effect on innocent lives”, Moyagh Murdock, RSA Chief Executive stated .