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Dublin: 4 °C Tuesday 25 February, 2020

Road accidents account for almost 40% of child deaths in Ireland

Even worse – the number of fatalities on our roads of children aged under 15 almost tripled last year.

Liz O'Donnell, chair of the RSA (back right) with school children at today's conference
Liz O'Donnell, chair of the RSA (back right) with school children at today's conference
Image: Robbie Reynolds Photography

THE SAFETY OF the children on our roads is the over-riding preoccupation of the Road Safety Authority’s (RSA) annual conference being held today in Dublin Castle.

Some of the statistics mentioned at the conference are fairly eye-opening.

In total, 14 children under the age of 15 died on Irish roads last year, fully 36.7% of all child deaths of any kind in Ireland as a whole.

This marks our roads out as the worst offender here when it comes to the deaths of children.

Of those 14 killed, seven were pedestrians and seven were passengers.

Most upsetting of all, last year saw a five-fold increase in the numbers of children killed on our roads since 2012, when fatalities were at a record low of just three.

Speaking in advance of the conference, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe bemoaned the ‘worrying’ upward trend in child fatalities and injuries on our roads.

“Children are our most vulnerable road users, and it’s up to all of us to safeguard them on our roads,” he said.

Chair of the RSA and former TD Liz O’Donnell was extremely forthright regarding what she made of the situation.

“We can now either watch this trend continue [the increase in fatalities], or we can collectively take action,” she said.

Children cannot be responsible for their own safety when using the road.
They simply don’t have the cognitive skills to be able to recognise danger. That’s why it’s up to us as adults to do the right thing and protect them.
We have to treat our children like precious cargo when carrying them as passengers in cars; there is no room whatsoever for complacency or exceptions – no matter how short the trip

The RSA have been tweeting all day as part of the conference’s theme with the hashtag #savekidslives.

According to a recent RSA study into child road deaths, the most dangerous time for children on our roads is between 4 and 6 pm daily.

Children are most likely to be killed during the months April through August when over half (51%) of children were killed during the report’s time-range. Friday was the most dangerous day of the week.

The vast majority of such fatalities happen unsurprisingly in Dublin and Cork, with 15% and 10% respectively of all such fatal accidents occurring in those counties over the relevant period.

Read: Videos show teens texting or talking moments before they crashed their cars

Read: I had to live for two years without a forehead – all because of one tiny mistake

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