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'Very bad year for road safety' sees more deaths and more fatal crashes

Speeding, drink driving, non-seatbelt wearing and using a mobile phones are among the chief causes.

A non-fatal crash in Dublin this evening.
A non-fatal crash in Dublin this evening.
Image: Twitter/DublinFireBrigade

THE ROAD SAFETY Authority’s chairperson Liz O’Donnell has said that it is “unacceptable” that road deaths have increased in three out of the last four years.

A total of 187 people lost their lives on Irish roads last year, 25 more people than who died in crashes in 2015.

The 187 people who lost their lives died in 175 separate fatal crashes and the RSA points out that fatal crashes have become both more frequent and more fatal.

O’Donnell says the increase in people dying on Ireland’s road meant that 2016 was a “very bad year for road safety”.

“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,” she said.

This is unacceptable and we must all redouble our efforts to prevent more needless loss of life.

Reacting to the road death statistics, which are based on preliminary crash investigations by An Garda Síochana, Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn has said that there are four clear behaviours which continue to contribute to road deaths.

“These behaviours are speeding, drink driving, non-seatbelt wearing and using a mobile phone while driving,” Finn said.

We will also be factoring the findings from the 2016 road collisions analysis report into our enforcement activity.

Frequently, fatal crashes are caused by a combination of two or more of these factors and recent arrest figures have shown that anti-drink-driving messages are failing to get through.

27/11/2014. RSA Christmas Campaigns Liz O’Donnell, chairperson at the Road Safety Authority. Source: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

More than 500 motorists were arrested for drink driving in the first three weeks of December, an increase on previous years. The RSA’s chief executive Moyagh Murdock says this is particularly concerning.

“Arrest figures for the last six weeks of the garda Christmas and New Year crackdown show that the attitudes and behaviour of a small number in our society hasn’t changed significantly,” she says, adding that everyone must do more.

We simply must take greater personal responsibility and this extends not only to those thinking of drink-driving, but also to those who knowingly turn a blind eye to it happening in our community.

Transport Minister Shane Ross has also expressed sadness at the loss of life on the roads last year, saying that he is “acutely aware that these are more than just numbers”.

The minister has pointed to the Road Traffic Act 2016 signed into law this week that he says, among its provisions, creates tougher rules against uninsured drivers and those under the influence of drugs.

Read: There have been 25 more deaths on Irish roads so far this year than in 2015 >

 

 

Read: Clamp down on speeding and drink driving with one motorist caught at 168 kph >

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Rónán Duffy

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