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Drop in road deaths in 2011

The number of road deaths in Ireland fell below 200 for the first time since road deaths began being recorded in 1959. There were 26 fewer fatalities in 2011 compared to 2009, latest figures from the Road Safety Authority show.

File photo
File photo
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

2012 SAW ITS first tragic death on Irish roads today, just as new figures from the Road Safety Authority reveal that there was a drop in road deaths in 2011.

Road deaths have fallen bel0w 200 for the first time since they first began being recorded in 1959.

Noel Brett, chief executive of the RSA, said that this is the fourth year in a row where deaths have been a record low, with a total of 186 people tragically losing their lives on the road in 2011.

He said the RSA’s thoughts and prayers are with the devastated families, friends and communities.

This year saw 26 fewer fatalities compared to 212 deaths last year and 52 fewer deaths compared to 2009 when 238 people lost their lives on the roads.

Since the Road Safety Strategy 2007 to 2012 was introduced in 2007, road deaths have dropped by 50 per cent, and when compared to the year before the introduction of the first ever road safety strategy in 1998, deaths have fallen by 59 per cent.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar said that “people are alive today as a direct result of better driver behaviour”.

However, we must ensure that this good work continues, and I would ask all drivers to keep up the good work. For its part, the Government has made road safety a key priority. In the year gone by we have rolled out new drink driving levels and other significant measures.

He noted new safety measures to be launched in the years ahead including the new plastic drivers’ licence, enhanced commercial vehicle roadworthiness testing, the publication of legislation to provide for testing of drug drivers at the roadside, and new penalty points.

Gay Byrne, Chairman, Road Safety Authority said to motorists:

Thank you. By changing the way you use the road you have saved more lives this year, 26 to be exact. Indeed in the past decade over a thousand lives have been saved the equivalent of the population of the town of Kilkee, Co Clare, real people, real lives saved.

He cautioned that “we run a real risk of complacency” and called on all Government Departments and Agencies to work collaboratively and proactively to ensure that there is not a worsening in Ireland’s road safety performance in 2012.

The reduction was also welcomed by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter TD, who said that the Government is committed to building on the progress made.

The Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey, head of the Garda National Traffic Bureau, extended his sympathies to the families of all those who lost their lives on our roads in recent years and thanked all members of An Garda Síochána and in particular the members of the Garda Traffic Corps for their dedication, often in difficult circumstances.

He also expressed his gratitude to members of the community for their support and commitment to making Irish roads safer by adjusting behaviour and showing greater respect to others.

Brett also paid tribute to the work of the Gardai and Emergency Services and praised road users who made ”the right decisions, not to drink or take drugs and drive, to slow down, to wear seatbelts, to wear high visibility jackets while out walking or cycling, our communities have become safer places.”

Looking to 2012, Mr Brett said that the priority for the Road Safety Authority will be to begin work on the development of a new Road Safety Strategy.

We will increase the focus on reducing the number and severity of injuries and try to sustain the reductions in deaths achieved over the last six years. In that task we need the public’s help and support. Please make road safety top of your New Year’s resolutions.

Read: Man dies in Co Cavan road collision>

Read: 16 new penalty points to be introduced in 2012>

Read: Drug testing of motorists to be introduced next year>

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