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Up to 80 more people may die in 2016 if road users don't wake up

The Road Safety Authority issued a warning to all road users ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

Image: An Garda Síochána via Facebook

THE ROAD SAFETY Authority has issued a stark warning to all road users that up to 80 more people may die before the end of this year on Irish roads if current trends continue.

As of 21 July this year there have been 89 fatal collisions, resulting in 93 deaths on the roads. This represents an 8% increase in deaths compared to the same period last year and RSA representatives have said some road users continue to ignore simple advice they have been hearing for years.

The highest number of fatalities this year was in Cork (17) followed by Tipperary (9) and Limerick (9). Cork also had the highest number of vulnerable road users – pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists and these road users represented more than a third of the total fatalities so far this year.

There has been an increase in roads deaths among the age group 66 and older and many of these people also fell into the vulnerable road user group.

Belt up

Liz O’Donnell, RSA Chairperson told reporters today it  ”seems incredible” that people are still getting into cars and failing to put their seatbelts on but that is the reality.

Seven of the 43 drivers killed this year were not wearing seatbelts.

Pedestrians, too, need to heed advice, she stressed with figures showing 11 of the 16 pedestrians killed so far this year had no high visibility gear. Ten of these deaths occurred in hours of darkness.

Moya Murdock, CEO of the RSA said some of the carelessness observed in road users can be attributed to alcohol, as their “judgement is impaired” and they may forget to wear their seatbelt, or feel they can walk home at night on a country road safely.

Recent research found alcohol was a factor in almost 40% of fatal crashes in a five year period. She said this shows “we haven’t really learned” and there is still a cohort of people in Irish society who believe it is okay to get behind the wheel several times over the limit.

In July alone this year, more than 500 drivers have been arrested on suspicion of drink driving.

Take personal responsibility

“If the current trend continues, we stand to lose almost 80 people in preventable and unnecessary road collisions,” O’Donnell said.

Complacency is our biggest challenge over the next six months. We need to get the basics right every single time we use the roads. This means not driving impaired, not speeding, wearing our seatbelts, making sure we’re visible to other road-users and avoiding distraction and fatigue.

“We need to take personal responsibility and not take unnecessary risks that put ourselves – or others – in danger.”

Read: Ireland’s drunk drivers will leave siblings to die and move bodies to avoid arrest>

Read: Gardaí warn people not to play Pokémon Go while driving>

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