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An RSA event in Dublin samboal
road deaths 2014

Double the number of children died on our roads last year

One in four passengers killed were not wearing a seatbelt.

ROAD DEATHS ROSE again in 2014, with the number of children dying on our roads doubling.

Some 196 people were killed last year, up from 190 in 2013 (a 3% rise). This represents a 21% increase when compared to the 162 road deaths that occurred in 2012, the safest year on Irish roads.

There was a doubling in the number of fatalities among children, with 16 people aged 15 years or less losing their lives in 2014 – eight were pedestrians and eight were passengers.

The Road Safey Authority’s 2014 report shows there has been a worrying 24% increase in the number of vulnerable road users killed, compared to 2013.

Four out of ten of those who died in 2014 were either a pedestrian, a cyclist or a motorcyclist. Of most significance is the increase in pedestrian fatalities (up from 31 to 42) and an increase in cyclist fatalities (up from 5 to 12).

Though still high, there has been a decline in the number of motorcycle user deaths, down from 27 in 2013 to 24 in 2014.

Analysis of vulnerable road user casualties shows that there is a higher rate of fatalities among younger and older people. Those aged 60+ account for 40% of all pedestrian deaths. 

The greatest change observed in 2014 is a 17% reduction in driver fatalities, down from 95 to 79. However, this decline is off-set by a 22% increase in passenger deaths, up from 32 to 39.

Provisional figures show that, where known, 16% of drivers were not wearing a seatbelt. A shocking 26% of passengers killed were not wearing a seatbelt.

While the Southern region accounted for the largest proportion of road deaths, Dublin recorded the biggest increase in fatalities (47%) in 2014.

Reversing the trend

Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the RSA, said that road users can make small changes to help prevent collisions.

Even if you change one aspect of your behaviour, be it speeding, not using a mobile phone, always wearing a seatbelt, or just being more careful and courteous to others, you can help make the roads safer for all of us. Small things can make a huge difference.

RSA Chief Executive Moyagh Murdock said that the organisation’s “priority areas” in 2015 will be “to focus communications on vulnerable road user safety and distracted driving”.

This will include getting back to basics with messages such as how to cross the road safely and wearing high visibility material to be seen on the road. Drivers too need to pay greater attention to their speed particularly in urban areas, as this pre-crash factor has the biggest impact on vulnerable road users.

Currently 82% of drivers are exceeding the 50km/h speed limit in urban national areas.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said he was “very concerned” at the high number of road deaths in 2014. He said his department was committed to working with the RSA to reverse this trend.

For my part I am determined to work with all the agencies signed up to the Government’s Road Safety Strategy to see if there are measures that can be fast-tracked to bring this about. However, while Government and state bodies need to redouble their efforts, each individual needs to make a firmer commitment to practice safer road habits in the New Year.

“I would like to make a particular appeal and ask drivers to be more careful and mindful of vulnerable road users, in turn I would ask these vulnerable road users to take greater steps to ensure they can be seen when using the road, and appreciate that they too need to follow the rules of the road,” Donohoe said.

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